The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Webb, William
Record 11 of 352

System Number: 06160
Date: [21/23 May 1878][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: George & William Webb[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W157
Document Type: ALS

Sir James[3] says that the case must be put on paper and that he will lay it at once before the board[4] - The letter may be addressed to him, but must be not at all of a private nature -

If therefor [sic] you will write out the whole case tonight you can send him the paper tomorrow morning addressing the envelope only to 17. Grosvenor Gardens.

It seems to me that you would state that your client is being made to pay for what is superfluous - that money is being frittered away in little matters - that [p. 2] there are no alterations of any perceptible kind made in form - that the building neither becomes taller or shorter - larger or less - that from a street point there is no change in infringement upon the pavement one way or another - that only your client is made to suffer in his own views of art and that all pleasure to him who is to inhabit the house is destroyed by aimlessly retouching in little detail what a few yards away gives no result whatever -

That you beg that for your credit with him and the art world generally this curious specialinter interference may cease and that the lease may be at once granted -

Explain about the door -

About the panel cut short - about Whistlers intentions for mozaic [sic] - about his distaste for carving - State also that the reason for hesitating has ceased since the other plots are sold - also state the fact that because of Whistler - and through him other clients have come to build upon the same ground and say that possibly some neg consideration might be shown for his taste art knowledge especially [p. 3] when the site of the questioned facade is in a back street with a stable as the corner building and starting point - and the difference alterations insisted upon by Vulliamy[5] though vexatious to your client are in themselves microscopic and only to be perceived from accross [sic] the street -

Then enclose my little note[6] for Sir James' own reading and send off the lot -

Ever Yours

J A McN. Whistler

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [21/23 May 1878]
Dated from sequence of letters about the White House; this letter appears to precede JW's correspondence with the Board on 23 May (see JW to G. & W. Webb, [21/22 May 1878?], #06163).

2.  George and William Webb
George Webb (b. ca 1835), of G. and W. Webb. lawyer [more] and William Webb (b. ca 1851), of G. and W. Webb, lawyer [more], JW's lawyers.

3.  Sir James
Sir James Macnaghten McGarel Hogg (1823-1890), first Baron Magheramorne [more].

4.  board
The Metropolitan Board of Works had delayed giving JW the lease for his new house and studio, the White House in Tite Street, until the completion of decorative panels on the facade, which were not part of the original simple and elegant design by Edward William Godwin (1833-1886), architect and designer [more].

5.  Vulliamy
George John Vulliamy (1817-1886), Superintending Architect with the Metropolitan Board of Works, London [more].

6.  my little note
Possibly #06163, although it was hardly 'little'.