The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Winans, William
Record 1 of 2

System Number: 07431
Date: [October 1878?][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: [unknown][2]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler X5
Document Type: ALdS[3]

[roundel with head of Leonardo]


Dear Cousin -

I fear you will be quite ready to drop altogether the relative who has just foisted himself upon the family! -

Each Sunday I had hoped to get round to see you all again - but it has been impossible and during the week I have been straining every nerve to finish what pictures I had begun in [p. 2] the old house[5] as I am to get out of that studio immediately -

Also I am such a shocking correspondent! and if you only knew how much rather I would do anything than write you would perhaps understand this miserable scrawl I am guilty of now and forgive it. - But I had promised my brother[6] that I would tell you that he had taken the archives[7] of the family down to Hastings to my Mother and Sister[8] - This I fully meant to do - but what will you! - Meanwhile the Dr. came up last night and, upon hearing from me that you wanted the book, he was greatly distressed for he had left it with my Mother (who is exceedingly interested in it, as you may suppose)[.] He went again today, and says he will certainly bring it back, on monday next, [p. 3] or send it from Hastings to you direct, if you will drop him a line to say that he may trust the book to the post. - I should think not.

[butterfly signature]

His address is
43. Talbot House[9]
43. St Marys Terrace
Hastings -

With kindest regards and compliment[s] to all, believe me, very Sincerely Yours

J A McN. Whistler

The White House - Chelsea Embankment -[10]

The greatest[11] possible care is, of course, taken of the book - and the doctor studies nothing else I believe - -

I hope to call upon you soon again -[12]

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [October 1878?]
Dated by address, soon after JW moved into the White House at the end of September 1878.

2.  [unknown]
Whistler's American cousins included McNeills, Palmers and Winanses and many others. It is possible that this letter was written to Walter Scott Winans (1840-1928), civil engineer [more]. He was related to JW through his sister Julia who had married George William Whistler (1822-1869), engineer, JW's half-brother [more]. He is said to have posed for JW about this time (Portrait of Walter Winans (YMSM 199)). Several of the Winans family eventually made homes in London. The 1881 census recorded William Louis Winans (1823-before 1907), locomotive manufacturer and civil engineer [more], living with his wife Maria, and sons, Walter and Lewis; and William Winans (b. ca 1830), civil engineer, a relation of JW by marriage [more], with his wife, Francis, and two daughters, Olga and Evalina.

3.  ALdS
The final version of this letter has not been located.

It is not clear if JW was actually at the Arts Club or just using their notepaper. The address is embossed upon the page.

5.  pictures I had begun in the old house
Pictures being completed in JW's studio at 96 Cheyne Walk probably included Portrait of Walter Winans (YMSM 199) and Arrangement in Brown and Black: Portrait of Miss Rosa Corder (YMSM 203).

6.  brother
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more], also referred to as 'the Dr'.

7.  archives
Not identified.

8.  Mother and Sister
Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881), née McNeill, JW's mother [more]; and Deborah ('Debo' or 'Sis') Delano Haden (1825-1908), née Whistler, JW's half-sister [more].

9.  Talbot House
Whistler's mother lived at Talbot House, Hastings, from 1875 until her death. Her son and step-daughter, who both lived in London, were visiting her.

10.  The White House - Chelsea Embankment -
Written beneath fold of page, effectively appearing at the top of page one.

11.  The greatest ... I believe - -
Written in space to left of the doctor's address.

12.  I hope to call upon you soon again -
Written up right margin.