The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Winans, Thomas de Kay
Record 4 of 82

System Number: 06667
Date: [26 - 27 January 1849][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: George Washington Whistler[2]
Place: [St Petersburg]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W661
Document Type: AL[3]

62 Sloane St.

Friday even: Jan: 26.

My dear Father,

I received a parcel yesterday from Capt: Kruger[4]: Hull, which you sent me from St. Petersburg, containing the Books and Skates, for which I thank you very much, and I am particularly glad to have received Sir Joshua Reynolds[5]'s discourses. How do you like Mr Maxwell[6]'s work, Father? I myself have only had a glance at it yet but daresay it is very interesting though Sis[7] says some parts are written in rather a bad style taste. Well, my portrait[8] is nearly finished and I am quite sure you will be better pleased with it, than any that has yet been taken. Seymour, Sis and I went to see it the other day: Seymour was very much pleased with it; it is very like and a very fine picture, Mr. Boxall is a beautiful Colourist, and is one of the first Artists. The background in the picture is very fine, such a warm tone, very like one of Gainsboroughs[9]. It has not a dry opaque look, but a beautiful creamy surface, and looks so rich! I wonder what Karitzky[10] would say to it? of course he will see it. Do you see him often now? I hope he is quite well; give my love to him. I wish dear Father that both you and Karitzky could have gone through the Vernon Galery[11] [sic] together! You would have been so delighted. but I told you about that in one of my former letters. We [p. 2] received letters from St. Petersburg last Saturday, but none have come from home this week! Mother[12] writes that you have all been to Mr. Winans[13] for the Christmas fÊte. Mr. W- seems to have been very Magnificent! bracelets etc. but I did not exactly understand what Willy[14]'s presents were? How did he enjoy it? he is better now, I hope, no longer any Rheumatism. But you dont say anything more about sending him to England. My Holidays have finished and I set to work again on Monday. Tell Willie he must be sure to write to me, for I have not receieved a letter from him for a very long while. - The baby[15] was vaccinated the other day and Mama says she bore it very well, giving a good reason for the same, viz: she was asleep during the performance.

Saturday evening 27th. I have just come home from a party where they had a Conjuror; I dare say Willie would have enjoyed his tricks, some of which were very nicely done. Captain and Miss Parland[16] called yesterday, she seemed to be anxious about the little Morgans[17], who, she said, had the Measles, I hope they are better, and that Willy will not forget to give my love to them.

How do you like the new Draftsman that Karitzky recommended? So Hadenskough[18] has turned out an ungrateful thief - fancy a man asking for money to bury his Child that was not dead! What has become of him? have you heard anything of him since [p. 3] he left? but of course he has taken to drinking again, and has ruined himself. - Has the American Minister[19] been presented to His Majesty[20] yet? - Dr. Boot[21] talked spoke to me about him, when I was there one day, he [sic] seemed that he knew all about his behaviour, and |I believe he mentioned your name, so I suppose you wrote to him. I think it is a great shame they should send out such a man as he is, I suppose the English hold him up as a speciemen and say "that's American"! -

Do you think that the American Government will work the Mines in California? I should not think it would look on peacibly and let everyone run off with the Gold. You know that there is not only Gold, but Platinum, Silver and Iron! I suppose the Irish will be running over in flocks to California! I think it would be a capital thing for us all to go and setle [sic] in California, when we go home again! I wish, dear Father, you would tell me in your next all about the Treaty of Peace with Mexico; was not California ceeded to the United States on condition of their paying the expenses of the war? - And what are the Pennsylvania Bonds[22]? -

Have you been to any Exhibition at the Academy lately? I wish you would tell me all about it (if you have) in your next. Did I mention, in my last, that Mr Boxall is going to take me to Hampton Court, where [p. 4] Raphael[23]'s Cartoons are? I shall tell you what I think of them then. - Fancy being so near the works of the greatest artist that ever was! I wish you could go with me! and Karitzky too, how much we should enjoy it! I hope, dear Father, you will not object to my choice, viz: a painter, for I wish to be one so very much and I dont see why I should not, many others have done so before. I hope you will say "Yes" in your next, - and that dear Mother will not object to it. -

And now, dear Father, I must wish you
Give my love to dear Mother and Willie and tell her I shall write to her next.
Remember me to all friends, don't forget Dr. Rogers[24] and Karitzky.

My Father
Major Whistler
St Petersburg

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1.  26 - 27 January 1849
Dated from the address and an almanac.

2.  George Washington Whistler
George Washington Whistler (1800-1849), engineer, JW's father [more].

3.  AL
Published in Thorp, Nigel (Editor), Whistler on Art: Selected Letters and Writings 1849-1903 of James McNeill Whistler, Manchester, 1994, and Washington, 1995.

4.  Kruger
Captain Kruger, sea captain.

5.  Joshua Reynolds
Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), painter [more].

6.  Maxwell
John S. Maxwell, secretary of the American Legation in St Petersburg in 1842 [more], had written The czar, his court and people: including a tour in Norway and Sweden, published in New York, 1848.

7.  Sis
Deborah ('Debo' or 'Sis') Delano Haden (1825-1908), née Whistler, JW's half-sister [more]; she was married to Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more]. JW was staying at their London house.

8.  portrait
JW had been sitting to William Boxall (1800-1879), portrait painter, Director of the National Gallery [more] (W. Boxall, Portrait of J. Whistler (z76)). The portrait remained in JW's possession and came with his estate to the Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow.

9.  Gainsboroughs
Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788), painter [more].

10.  Karitzky
Aleksander Osipovich Koritzkii, Professor at St Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts and court painter [more].

11.  Vernon Galery
Robert Vernon (1774-1849), patron and art collector, gave a large collection of contemporary British works to the nation in 1847. By that time, the National Gallery had become overcrowded, and Vernon's collection had to be displayed elsewhere, first at Vernon's own house, and later at Marlborough House. Most are now in Tate Britain.

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

13.  Willy
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more].

14.  Winans
Thomas De Kay Winans (1820-1878), locomotive engineer and collector [more].

15.  baby
Annie Harriet Haden (1848-1937), later Mrs Charles Thynne, JW's niece [more].

16.  Parland
Captain Parland, late of the Imperial Russian Hussars of the Guard, was married on 18 April 1849 to Annette (d. 1883), daughter of Henry Crawshay (Times, London, 24 April 1849, p. 9). Miss Parland may have been his sister. Although it seems unlikely that JW would have referred to girls of his own age or younger as 'Miss', it is just possible that 'Miss Parland' was one of the daughters of Dr William F. Parland, either Julia E. (b. ca 1838 in Chelsea) or Georgina (b. ca 1842) (UK census 1881, at, accessed 2004).

17.  Morgan
Possibly Isabella (1817-1853), Fanny or Maria, daughters of Elizabeth and Steven Morgan (d. before 1853), of St Petersburg.

18.  Hadenskough
Hadenskongg, a Russian acquaintance.

19.  American Minister
Arthur Bagby (1794-1858), senator and U. S. minister in Russia from 1848-1849 [more], resigned on 14 May 1849 (see AMW to JW, 7 January/18 February 1849, #06385).

20.  Majesty
Nicolas I Romanov (1796-1855), Tsar of Russia from 1825-1855 [more].

21.  Boot
Dr Francis Boot (1792-1863), physician [more].

22.  Pennsylvania Bonds
State stocks such as the Pennsylvania Bonds depended partly on the economic condition of the State itself, and had been, in the past, somewhat shaky. However, at the time of writing, these bonds were exhibiting a rise of 2 or 3 per cent ('Money-Market And City Intelligence', Times, London, 24 January 1849, p. 5). As for California, the Times quoted the New York Herald in reporting that the Gold Rush was subsiding, and mentioned the other precious metals being mined in the area ('America', Times, London, 10 January 1849, p. 4).

23.  Raphael
Raphael (Raffaele Santi) (1483-1520), painter [more].

24.  Rogers