The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
Home > On-line Edition > Search for People > Document Display

return to search results

Documents associated with: Edward VII
Record 2 of 7

System Number: 04787
Date: 27 January [1901][1]
Author: JW
Place: Ajaccio
Recipient: Rosalind Birnie Philip[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler P427
Document Type: ALS

Hotel Schweizerhof.
Ajaccio. Corse.

Sunday. 27. Jan.

I am afraid Major that my letters are too lengthy for you! So I shall now let you off much reflection and communication that would seem to be, perhaps the overflow of idleness -

It occurs to me that it is time for something else - I almost think the cough is leaving me - and there is nothing else to stay for - As work is too risky - & this is scarcely the moment for "the Streets"! -

If you are in London - it does take a time for letters - if then you are in town and are feeling [p. 2] up to it - and the weather is not vile - why you might look in a bit at the studio - All the dresses might be looked over and got together, and the backgrounds - The black velvet will have to go to Paris when you get a good chance - for it must not be lost on the way - I am glad you have written to Mrs. Vanderbilt[3] and I am sure your letter is excellent - Then again, in the Studio, put together all you can find of Dieppe and Pourville[4] - panels & water colours, & make a note of them - Indeed I dont see why you shouldn't make a simple little entry in small black book[5] of all pastels, watercolours & drawings in the print chest - Don't over do it Major so that it take too much elaboration - just an indication or name of each - indeed I am afraid, as I write, that it is too much like a heavy undertaking just now - especially as the place would be so miserably lonely - so only see that they are all right - - But this you might do - get together all the copper plates[6] - The unengraved ones put aside - and then go over all with etching upon them - A little turpentine with softest rag to each first - and then where they are dark and discoloured, pass over a bit of cotton wool dipped in vinegar and salt - You have seen me mix the stuff - when I used to clean the plates in the drawing room - Some common vinegar in a small cup - A little will do - and a good pinch of salt - well stirred - and dip & try! The copper ought to come out bright as a new penny at once! -

But you must immediately pop the plate into basin of luke warm water beside you and wipe nice & dry and finish with clean turpentine - Then wrap each plate in its silver paper, and piece of "whitey brown" - Dont forget though, its beginning the operation with the turpentining, to wash off the plate next with warm water before applying the vinegar - or the greasiness might prevent its taking - There! like a bad receipt in a cookery book - You see I am troubled about my plates - I ought to have a quantity - and I don't seem to have seen them for some time - Look all over Major - in the back room - and in the drawers of those linen presses - They used to be on the floor! - In Paris you have some, have you not, in your closets? - and at the atelier[7] I have scarcely ventured to look on the shelves for a long time back! - Make some kind of a note of them - and lock them up - Cannot some one help you and keep you company - perhaps Bunnie[8] when she comes up - or little Miss Edie[9] -

Now about the long legged dancing Blue Girl[10] & her sister Gladys[11]! - You might send round for them and see how they get on -

Give some little present to Eva[12] - any thing - Chocolates if you like - to both - & say I wanted some account of her - as indeed I do -

How do you like Ratier's[13] answer[.] [p. 3] I sent Euphrasie[14] to him as I told you - and I wrote her a letter of instructions - Her answer, which came this morning was so excellent! that I sent it on to Ratier, whom she has not as yet been able to see - He is away until tuesday - I have at once replied to Euphrasie that I am pleased with and that je le dirai a [sic] ces dames![15] - Really you know you must see that letter - Of course it was written with the pen of her husband - but the statement was Euphrasies - and clear, and straight! and ready to stand before any number of Juges de Paix![16] - In short beside it the Saleron[17] is mere shuffle and bluster - So thats all right! - When you write, you must say, Major, that you are pleased to know that I liked her letter - I wired you today to send their Christmas boxes - It is better under the circumstances that Rouvière[18] should not have to wait -

After all this is the longest letter of the lot! but it is all about things! and so less tiresome to read! -

Monday eveg

This lovely little island has been, naturally, kicking up its heels all so bold! - Yesterday the thermometer we were all so proud of, suddenly pulled itself in to 8° and nearly disappeared; and the wind flew down the mountains - and whirled in from the sea! and then the rain was simply emptied out of the sky! - and the Southern business went immediately and entirely to the bad!! - and there was an end of that! - Now today we are smiling about a bit with the sun - but the wind had a go in too - though it is believed, only playfully, and perhaps tomorrow it may withdraw again behind the hills - But even then - there is nothing but idleness & uncertainty.

Tuesday -

Your batch of letters - What a time it takes! - Why do you say you waited for further address? - Poste Restante was good enough - However you have the hotel now - but I judge that when you wrote (Saturday) you had not yet received my last letter with Ratier's & the Farquhar's -

Tell Bunnie I have her letter this time all right - and why is she mysterious about the other person who said pleasant things? -

I have[19] written to Webb[20] to sell the lease of Hinde Street[21]

I am glad to hear that you have a nice place down there by the sea - and that you are looking so well & beautiful Ma'ame[22], as it is your duty to! -

And what do you think Ma'ame of Edward VII's[23] kingly encouragement of Catholicism in the Island as a beginning of the new reign? -

Many things to all of you!

Affectly, my dear Major

the General

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  27 January [1901]
In January 1901 JW arrived in Corsica (see #04785 and #04788).

2.  Rosalind Birnie Philip
Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more]. JW called her 'Major' and himself 'General'.

3.  Mrs. Vanderbilt
Edith Stuyvesant Vanderbilt (1873-1958), née Dresser, wife of G. W. Vanderbilt [more], posing for Ivoire et or: Portrait de Madame Vanderbilt (YMSM 515)

4.  Dieppe and Pourville
Such as The Sea, Pourville, No. 1 (YMSM 516), Green and Silver: The Great Sea (YMSM 518), and Shop Front: Dieppe (M.1517).

5.  black book
In Glasgow University Library.

6.  copper plates
The copperplates (all but one cancelled) are now in the Hunterian Art Gallery.

7.  atelier
Fr., studio - meaning 24 rue Notre Dame des Champs.

8.  Bunnie
Ethel Whibley (1861-1920), née Philip, JW's sister-in-law [more].

9.  Miss Edie
Edith Burkett (1893?-1973), daughter of JW's landlady [more]. Her mother was housekeeper at 8 Fitzroy Square.

10.  Blue Girl
Eva Carrington, JW's model between 1898 and 1902 [more], the model for Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Little Blue Girl (YMSM 421).

11.  Gladys
Gladys Carrington, a model [more].

12.  Eva
Eva Carrington.

13.  Ratier's
Antoine ('Antony') Ratier (b. 1851), lawyer and politician [more].

14.  Euphrasie
Euphrasie, JW's servant at 110 Rue du Bac.

15.  je le dirai a ces dames!
Fr., so I will tell the ladies.

16.  Juges de Paix!
Fr., justices of the peace.

17.  Saleron
Mme Saleron, JW's neighbour at 110 rue du Bac [more].

18.  Rouvière
Rouvière, a servant or concièrge at 110 rue du Bac.

19.  I have
'I have ... Street' is written in the left margin, and the remainder in the left margin of p. 1.

20.  Webb
William Webb (b. ca 1851), of G. and W. Webb, lawyer [more].

21.  Hinde Street
The Company of the Butterfly, an unsuccessful attempt at putting the sale of JW's work on a business footing.

22.  Ma'ame
Frances Philip (1824-1917), née Black, JW's mother-in-law [more].

23.  Edward VII's
He was not crowned until 9 August 1902.

24.  Mrs. Burkitt
Mrs Burkett, JW's landlady at 8 Fitzroy Square [more].

25.  Heinemann
William Heinemann (1863-1920), publisher [more].

26.  Bate
Inez Eleanor Addams (fl. 1898-1927), née Bate, painter [more].