The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: McNay, Mary Isabella
Record 2 of 2

System Number: 04242
Date: [August 1882?][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: [Mary McNay?][2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler M512
Document Type: ALS


Dear Mrs. McNay -

It is very nice & right in you to write and tell me all this - but do you know I fear there will be no fight! for I can't help being more amused than shocked -

I am becoming quite a gourmet in cruelty it would appear, for I quite rejoice in this revelation of the poor devil Portuguee's[4] agonised spleen and impotent rage! -

How awfully complete is the slaying of Howell! -

[p. 2] You see I have now accomplished thoroughly the work I had set myself to do - I look upon it as artistic throughout and am delighted and absolutely content - How bad all this is for us as Christians! -

I send you the "Paddon Papers[5]" - charming title isnt it? - and the Owl & the Cabinet[6] - do let me know what you think of the perfection -

Of course both Howell & his patron have had copies at both country houses and town quarters - there has been no escape for them - and in return I have heard nothing -

With kindest regards
Always sincerely Yours

J McN. Whistler

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [August 1882 ?]
Dated by the reference to publications (see below).

2.  [Mary McNay?]
Probably Mary Isabella MacNay (b. 1840 or 1841), née Cooke, wife of T. F. McNay [more].

The letter is written at right angles to the printed letter-head.

4.  Portuguee's
Charles Augustus ('Owl') Howell (1840? - d.1890), entrepreneur [more], who came from Lisbon.

5.  Paddon Papers
Whistler, James McNeill, Correspondence. Paddon Papers. The Owl and the Cabinet, London, [1882].

6.  Owl & the Cabinet
A Chinese 'pagoda' cabinet, sold by JW to Sydney Morse (1854-1929), solicitor [more], became the subject of a protracted wrangle between JW, Morse and Howell. Howell, the agent in the sale, pawned the 'headpiece' of the cabinet whilst claiming it was in for repair. JW published his version of events in Whistler, James McNeill, Correspondence. Paddon Papers. The Owl and the Cabinet, London, [1882]. See S. Morse to T. F. Allingham, 16 September 1878 (#00145) and Allingham's replies, 18 and 19 September 1878 (#00149, #00150). The complete cabinet is now at Leighton House Museum, London.