The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Cowan, Sophy
Record 5 of 22

System Number: 00706
Date: [2 January 1894][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: John James Cowan[2]
Place: [Edinburgh]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler C207
Document Type: ALS

'2 Jan 1894'

110. Rue du Bac. Paris

How really kind and charming of you my dear Mr. Cowan!

in the midst of all the pre-occupation of your son's illness and your possible voyage abroad to think of us - and especially to have remembered, for me, the Scotch nectar[3]!

Alas! That you are not coming over to drink it with me in the studio! -

We were thinking very much [p. 2] of you lately - and I was on the point of writing again to ask after you all when your letter[4] came -

I hope, by the way, that you did get my answer[5] to your first letter? -

How sad this long and dangerous illness of your son's[6] will have been - I suppose that it is partly for him that you are going to Australia - The long sea voyage will completely set him up again I doubt not after his long confinement to his sick room - We are glad indeed to know that your son is now out of danger & getting well, and we are sorry that we are not to see you for so many long months! - more than sorry! -

I can, I think, pretty well finish the picture[7] without you - such details you wot[8] of as brown shoes - cap - etc - (How well you left these with me!) -

This I shall proceed to do - and send the picture over to Mrs. Cowan[9] that she may have it while you are away - and when you return you might perhaps run back some day with it that I may put a few further touches upon the head - n'est ce pas? -

You see we did not get off to Cornwall though I believe we still hope to! - But we have been kept by work of one kind & another - so that for the first time we had our Christmas dinner out of England!

I hope you will write again before you leave -

We send you all our best wishes for the [p. 3] New Year - and for the future journey - out & home again! -

and with our kindest regards to Mrs Cowan and yourself, believe me my dear Mr. Cowan

Always sincerely Yours

J. McNeill Whistler.

The whisky has this moment arrived! all right and in perfect condition - and I shall at once proceed to drink all your best healths in a first glass!

[butterfly signature]

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1.  [2 January 1894]
The date was inserted in pencil, possibly in Cowan's hand, and ticked in red ink. This was presumably the date that he received the letter.

2.  John James Cowan
John James Cowan (1846-1936), paper manufacturer and collector [more].

3.  Scotch nectar
i.e. Scotch whisky.

4.  your letter

5.  answer

6.  son's
Allister Cowan (b. 1873), son of the collector J. J. Cowan [more].

7.  picture
Arrangement in Grey and Green: Portrait of J. J. Cowan (YMSM 402). Cowan sat for JW in Paris in May-June and September 1893. The picture was never finished although he gave JW sixty sittings between 1893 and 1900. See Cowan, John J., From 1846-1932, Edinburgh, 1933, pp. 156-57, 168-73.

8.  wot
Meaning, know.

9.  Mrs. Cowan
Sophy Cowan (b. ca 1850), née Gillespie, wife of J. J. Cowan [more].