The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Allingham, Theodore Frederick
Record 1 of 72

System Number: 02589
Date: [18/22 July 1877][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Frederick Richards Leyland [2]
Place: [Liverpool]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler L125a
Document Type: ALdS

No. 17[3]

I have had no time to write - and am really fatigued with the whole thing -

Your letters, with the "Sir" of the Invoice, and the "Yours Truly" that you cannot escape, pall upon me - and altogether you seem to me, as Carlyle[4] says, "to be rapidly developing a capacity for becoming a bore." -

It is positively sickening to think that I should have labored to build up that exquisite Peacock Room[5] [p. 2] for such a man to live in!

You speak of your "public position before the World" and apparently forget that the World only knows you as the possessor of that work they have all admired, and whose price you refused to pay! -

A great deal remains to be said or perhaps written upon that subject whenever one has time or occasion - Meanwhile all that I do or say about it is quite open -

With reference to your family[6], as a Gentleman, little as you may know about it - I could not do otherwise than recognise old friends when I met the ladies who have always treated me with uniform kindness and courtesy -

Your last incarnation with a horsewhip I leave you to work out - Whom the Gods wish to make ridiculous, they furnish with a frill[7]! -

[butterfly signature]

Copy sent to Liverpool -

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [18/22 July 1877]
This is a reply to F. R. Leyland's letter of 17 July 1877 (#02585), and was returned by Leyland to JW on 22 July 1877 with a note written on the back of the sheet - see #02590. JW made several drafts of this letter (#02586, #02587, #02588).

2.  Frederick Richards Leyland
Frederick Richards Leyland (1832-1892), ship-owner and art collector [more].

3.  No. 17
Written in top right corner in JW's hand, double-underlined, in pencil. The Leyland correspondence is numbered, and JW threatened to publish it (see JW's letter to Leyland, 22 July 1877, #02592).

4.  Carlyle
Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), historian and philosopher [more]. JW told the Pennells a story that had been told to him by William Allingham, 'Carlyle's Boswell': Allingham and Carlyle were walking in the Embankment Gardens when Carlyle stopped suddenly and said, "Have a care, mon, have a care, for ye have a tur-r-ruble faculty for developing into a bore!" (Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 260).

5.  Peacock Room
Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room (YMSM 178).

6.  family
Frederick Richards Leyland (1832-1892), shipowner, his wife Frances, and their children Frederick Dawson, Fanny, Florence and Elinor.

7.  frill
Leyland was fond of wearing shirts with a frill.