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

return to search results

Document associated with: Corcoran, William Matthews
Record 1 of 1

System Number: 06542
Date: 6 May 1869
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[1]
Place: London
Recipient: Harriet and James H. Gamble[2]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: Whistler W536
Document Type: ALS

2 Lindsey Row Chelsea London

Thursday May 6th 69.

My beloved friends

I attribute your delay in reporting to me, what would so much interest myself & Sons[3], your pleasant journeyings - to your realizing how limited your stay for all you desire to see & to meet, but I must put in my claim, for you took me so unawares in your hurried departure from London. I fear you may embark without informing me when to ask the prayers in the Old Church [4] for your safe voyage. I shall always regret you did not go with me there once! & that you could not know my good Pastor[5]. I shall send you by Book post the little memoir of Chelsea of "Household of Sir Thomas More[6]" may I? [p. 2] just to be an association with us, on the book shelf of your sweet cottage, which I hope a description of when you are at home in it. I have been answering such a welcome letter from Cousin Anne Clunie[7] today. the scrap I enclose, came just so, within hers. I sent her your address & told her all I could about you, but pray write the dear old lady without delay neither she or I will ask more than a few lines. Will you write me the Wann & McAndrew[8] house in N York? I think of giving a friend a note of introduction to Mr Wann if I can get his address by next Wednesday. I am sure they will like one another. To my promise I heard of Mr Rodewald[9] of Wimbledon having gone to N York to be there at the settlement of his recently deceased brother Adolfe's affairs & in the hope of its being a relief & comfort to his Sister in law[10] my widowed neice [sic]. his own three children[11] [p. 3] with their Governess & their servants are at Weisbaden [sic] til his return in June. I should have been so thankful to have sent a good book in 3 vols to my little Godson, Willie MacNeill Rodewald, but he started in too great haste to give me notice, I shall write my friend Margaret H[12] by you if you do not object. Mrs Barrow[13] is expecting her eldest Son John W B of the Jaffray house[14] in June so I hope to hear from the Scarsdale Cottage[15] by him, A fortnight since came to me from Florida tidings of my brothers sudden death[16], for which however I am thankful in feeling assured he was prepared. his was a life of cheerful resignation to our heavenly Fathers will, diligent in his labors for the maintenance of his wife & many children[17], he was fervent in spirit. I may truly say he walked with God & is not for God has taken him! a great responsibility devolves on his eldest of nine children, Donald will be a great comfort to his [p. 4] Widowed Mother, his next brother Charlie in N York is exemplary too, they both attended the funeral of their father, in Stonington, so my Sister[18] wrote me in her interesting account of it. I have sent her letter to Miss Clunie to read, or should enclose it in this for your perusal. I am expecting soon to hear from Mr & Mrs Ralph King[19] that they have taken their berths, as he wrote en route to N York they should leave there early this month, D V -

We are looking improved here, I persuaded our Landlords agent to have our front door painted & I have had a gardener to trim the Ivy on the wall & sow our flower beds & put all in neat order for the Season. Jemie is very industrious[20] in his Studio, so intent upon perfecting his drawings[21], painting pictures will be his delight soon as he masters the foundation[,] he is I am glad to report "himself again" a few Turkish Baths rid him of neuralgia in his back & in his head. He went on Monday last with some friends [p. 5] to the opening of the R A Exhibition[22], and you'd have fancied he was rejoicing over his own success, with so much zest did he enjoy the days [sic] holiday. What a blessing is his cheerful temper. his Etchings[23] will soon be published, they say, the Co have had to wait for Japanese paper to print them on. I am so sorry your set was not mounted as these will be, but am glad you have [a] more full set, and by & by your dear Harriet can amuse yourself mounting yours on Bristol board to frame or put in a portfolio for your library table - It is now half past seven ocl I tell you, that you may know my eyes are not needing my Oculist[24], the Prussian is again at his post in Coblenze [sic], he left a patient besides me under Willie's care til the cure was perfect, so dear Willie has success even out of his usual line & I trust & pray he may become well established as a reward to his attendance upon many too poor to pay[.] both my "boys" would offer their affectionate regards if beside me, as they ever wished to be remembered. I[25] never tax my sight to read over my own scrawls [p. 6] And now before my reading to good old Harriet & our young house maid Fanny[26] I must try to close this. tomorrow will bring its claims, & I am to attend the confirmation at St. Luke's[27] my 2nd Grandson Arthur Haden[28] one of the number to be presented[.] my Pastors [sic] wife met me at our Church door last Sunday & invited me to lunch at their house & go with them & she sent me a card of admission for the rite, as I declined the luncheon. When I saw my dear daughter[29] last week (we met at our mutual friends the Gerald Potters[30]) she told me Arthur was to be confirmed. I have not seen him or his brothers for more than a year! their father[31] is alas more bitter than ever. I can only pray for him, as I forgive him, tho he causes such grief to me, & is so unjust in his libels against Jemie. You will be glad to hear of Seyr[32] the Westminster student, that he has passed his examination & is to enter Oxford University at midsummer[,] he is a great comfort to his Mama [p. 7] whom he most resembles in character, he is so thoughtful for her, all the servants praise Master Seymour!

When you next write to Homeland[33], offer my love to dear Mrs Wann, tell her I never can forget the holidays I have had under her roof, & the pleasant works & talks with her. Mr Wanns kindness and hospitality completing my happy sojourn with them. What do you hear of Mrs Cruger[34]? write soon to me, I know you have many claimants, but a cheering report in few words will cheer me. If you are staying with Mr & Mrs Dunville[35] please offer our regards. Now goodnight to "Siamese Twins"

Be assured ever of the love of your old friend

Anna M Whistler

You used to wish I could have cheerful & faithful servants - & so I have. I thank God every day when I pray for them.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  Anna Matilda Whistler
Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881), née McNeill, JW's mother [more].

2.  Harriet and James H. Gamble
James H. Gamble (b. 1820), clerk [more] and his wife Harriet Gamble, née Wheaton.

3.  Sons
James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), artist [more], and William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more].

4.  Old Church
Old Chelsea Church, London.

5.  Pastor
Rev. Robert Henry Davies (1821-1908), incumbent of Chelsea Old Church [more].

6.  Household of Sir Thomas More
Anna Manning, The Household of Sir Thomas More, New York, 1852. Sir Thomas More (also called Saint) (1477-1535), was humanist and statesman, chancellor of England (1529-32), who was beheaded for refusing to accept King Henry VIII as head of the Church of England. He is recognized as a saint by the Roman Catholic church. It is interesting that AMW is talking about this book as it was given to her by F. S. Haden. The latter had been on bad terms with her since 1867 (see below); see AMW to JW, 31 December 1852, 4 and 7 January 1853, #06424.

7.  Cousin Anne Clunie
Anne Clunie (b. 1793), a Scottish cousin of AMW [more].

8.  Mann & McAndrew
The business house of Alexander McAndrew & Samuel Wann, merchants, 40 Broadway, New York; see New York City Directory, 1869, New York, p. 668; AMW to James H. Gamble, 10-11 February 1864, #06522.

9.  Mr Rodewald
Johann Frederick Rodewald (1808-1886), banker, husband of Mary Isabella McNeill [more], JW's cousin.

10.  Sister in law
Julia Catherine Rodewald (1825-1897), née McNeill, JW's cousin, wife of A. Rodewald, Sr [more].

11.  three children
Alice Rodewald (1854-1923), Edith Rodewald (b. 1857), and Frederick Rodewald (b. 1864), children of M. I. and J. F. Rodewald.

12.  Margaret H
Margaret Getfield Hill (1802-1881), a friend of AMW, of Scarsdale, NY [more].

13.  Mrs Barrow
Mrs Barrow, a relation of J. W. Barrow of New York.

14.  John W B of the Jaffray house
John W. Barrow, a merchant of New York. He probably worked with the firm of Edward S. Jaffray & Co. relations of Anna ('Annie') Harding Denny (b. 1834) who posed to JW for Portrait of Anna Denny (YMSM 4), and later married W. M. Corcoran. See Henry Hall, ed. America's Successful Men of Affairs: An Encyclopedia of Contemporaneous Biography, New York, 1895, vol. 1, p. 349.

15.  Scarsdale Cottage
AMW lived intermittently at Scarsdale, NY, ca September 1851 and November 1857, in a cottage owned by her friend Margaret G. Hill.

16.  brothers sudden death
Charles Johnson McNeill (1802-1869), brother of AMW [more].

17.  wife & many children
Elizabeth McNeill, née Coffee, wife of AMW's brother, C. J. McNeill, and her children: Donald C. McNeill (d. 1876), Charles W. McNeill (b. 1847), Ellen M. McNeill, Alvan C. McNeill (1852-ca 1943), William Palmer McNeill (1857-1947), Peral E. McNeill (1860-ca 1878), Anna Alicia McNeill (1858-1950), James Bolton McNeill (b. 1860), Joshua McNeill.

18.  Sister
Catherine ('Kate') Jane Palmer (ca 1812 - d.1877), née McNeill, AMW's sister [more].

19.  Mr & Mrs Ralph King
Ralph King (1801-1878), broker, father-in-law of W. McN. Whistler [more] and his second wife Mildred M. ('Mittie') King (b. 1820), née Bronaugh.

20.  industrious
JW had recently been commissioned by his patron Frederick Richards Leyland (1832-1892), ship-owner and art collector [more] to paint his family (see YMSM 95-7, 106-11; see also M.425-6).

21.  intent upon perfecting his drawings
He was perfecting the drawing of Rose and Silver (M.356), and Venus (M.357).

22.  R A Exhibition
101st Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Academy, London, 1869 opened on 3 May 1869.

23.  Etchings
Probably a reference to the Thames etchings, published as a set in the spring of 1871 (A Series of Sixteen Etchings of Scenes on the Thames, 1871 (the 'Thames Set') (K.38-44, 46, 52, 66, 68, 71, 74-76, 95) (excat 4)). In 1868/69, Alexander Constantine Ionides (1810-1890), shipping merchant and collector [more], tried to form a fine art company with Murray Marks, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris, which would deal in blue and white china and the decorative arts, and would have exclusive rights to JW's etchings. Ionides, having bought the copper plates, planned to published an edition in the Spring of 1869 following receipt of a shipment of Japanese paper. The company was never formed, and the Thames set was not published on Japanese paper; see Katherine Lochnan, The Etchings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven and London, 1984, p. 168.

24.  my Oculist
Dr Meurens, occulist at Koblenz, Germany. In September 1865, AMW went to Koblentz for several months for treatment of her eye condition.

25.  I
'I ... scrawls' written in the left margin.

26.  Harriet & our young house maid Fanny
Harriet (b. c. 1810), and Fanny, servants of AMW.

27.  St. Luke's
St Luke's Chapel, Chelsea Old Church, Church Street, London; see PO Directory, 1870, p. 2198.

28.  Arthur Haden
Arthur Charles Haden (1852-1910), musician, JW's nephew [more].

29.  daughter
Deborah ('Debo' or 'Sis') Delano Haden (1825-1908), née Whistler, JW's half-sister [more].

30.  Gerald Potters
Probably the family of John Gerald Potter (1829-1908), wallpaper manufacturer and patron [more]. He owned Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl (YMSM 52), Blue and Silver: Blue Wave, Biarritz (YMSM 41) and later Grey and Silver: Chelsea Wharf (YMSM 54) and Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Cremorne Lights (YMSM 115) (see #06526).

31.  father
Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more]. In the Spring of 1867 JW quarrelled with F. S. Haden over the latter's treatment of James Reeves Traer (ca 1834- d. 1867), partner in F. S. Haden's medical practice (see #06538).

32.  Seyr
Francis Seymour Haden, Jr (1850-1918), JW's nephew [more].

33.  Homeland
Homeland, Staten Island, was the residence of the Wanns and James H. Gamble.

34.  Mrs Cruger
Harriet Cruger (1790-1872), née Douglas, a friend of AMW [more], and owner of the Henderson Home.

35.  Mr & Mrs Dunville
William Dunville, cousin of J. H. Gamble, and his wife.