The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Dicey, Frank
Record 6 of 7

System Number: 02467
Date: [13/20 October 1886?][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Henry Labouchère[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler L4
Document Type: AL

My dear Labouchère -

Do look at the enclosed - and for Heaven's sake expose the envy malice and hatred of the miserable builder - whoever it may be - who in this way maligns the memory of the great artist, whom it has been our privilege to know! -

Godwin[3] - by far the most brilliant Architect of his time in England, to be summed up parochially! - his life to be disposed of as of "unfulfilled promise"! - because he was not mean enough to produce mediocre work and carry off the guineas of the common! - to be distinguished as having "helped in his designs" Major General Edis[4], who may have won his spurs at Wimbledon, but who isn't fit to have sharpened Godwin's pencil! -

Then again look at the paragraph referring to his private life - Can anything be more loathsome than the assertion that he married a Miss Philip[5]! - Why a Miss Philip? - If it had been said that [p. 2] Mr Godwin married Miss Philip the daughter of the late Sculptor[6], there would have been some seemliness in mentioning the fact - but, as it stands, it is as intentionally insolent as it is vulgar - while the suggestion in the untruth that the lady herself has "of late years been living in Oxfordshire," is I should think, actionable -

In short my dear Labouchère you who are the champion of Truth[7], and are really dear to us because of your skill as well as your courage, do, in one of your brilliant articles justice to the genius of this great Artist our friend - and gain the gratitude of his grief stricken and wounded widow -

To Labouchère[8]
re Godwin

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [13/20 October 1886?]
Dated by reference to the death of E. W. Godwin on 6 October 1886.

2.  Henry Labouchère
Henry Du Pré Labouchère (1831-1912), journalist and Liberal MP [more]. This may be a draft of a letter, since it remained in JW's possession.

3.  Godwin
Edward William Godwin (1833-1886), architect and designer [more].

4.  Major General Edis
Robert William Edis (1839-1927), architect [more]. Edis designed a studio house for Frank Dicey and flats next to the White House in Tite Street in 1880. He rendered the comparatively small house imposing with 'Queen Anne trimmings', and designed 'Frenchified decor' in accordance with his own handbook, Decoration on Furniture of Town Houses (see Giles Walkley, Artists Houses in London 1764-1914, Aldershot, 1993, p. 92, 152). Edis had succeeded in developing a site Godwin had hoped, but failed, to develop, and perhaps because of this, JW disapproved of him.

5.  Miss Philip
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].

6.  the late Sculptor
John Birnie Philip (1824-1875), sculptor, father of JW's wife Beatrix [more].

7.  Truth
Labouchère was the editor.

8.  To Labouchère re Godwin
Written at the foot of the page upside down to the main text, in another hand, possibly that of Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].