The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 00438
Date: 14 June 1867
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti[1]
Place: London
Recipient: Rodolph Nicholson Wornum[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler B217
Document Type: ALd[3]

June 14 1867

[bi-circular letterhead with tree motif and motto, and monogram:]


My dear Wornum,

My brother[5] and I have just seen the letter[6] which our friend Mr Whistler has received from you on behalf of the Committee of the Burlington Club.

As it seems that the view which strikes us at once has not presented itself to the Committee, will you allow us to bring it through you to their [p. 2] notice, without, as we hope, saying more than two members of the Club are warranted in saying.

We certainly venture to think that the Committee has placed itself in a grave position lacked acted inconsiderately acted without shown a want of due consideration in entertaining up to so advanced a stage of proceeding[7] the personal complaint made by one member[8] against another and are proceeding to act on their conclusions without [p. 3] making that other at all acquainted with the course of affairs. In fact we cannot but think conceive that some apology is now owing in the first instance to Mr Whistler, whatever might be the further issue of events. That a number of gentlemen should discuss the concerns of another and act on their conclusions without making him in any degree a party to their movements, seems such an anomaly in social intercourse and in the courte[s]y from which Club-life does not [p. 4] surely exempt individuals that it must be only necessary to pointing out to make it can only need being once pointed out, it must become apparent at once how undue pressure from one side has warped what cannot but be the normal feeling of the Committee.

This letter is written on the spur of the moment to meet the exigencies of the case in its present stage, and not to deal at present with another apparent anomaly: - viz: the introduction of purely personal matters into the business of a Club.

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1.  Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882), artist and poet [more].

2.  Rodolph Nicholson Wornum
Ralph Nicholson Wornum (1812-1877), history painter [more].

3.  ALd
For final version, see #12964, and The Correspondence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti 3, ed. William E. Fredeman. Woodbridge, Suffolk: D. S. Brewer, 2003, vol. 1, letter 67.80.

Lat., You will break; you will not bend.

5.  brother
William Michael Rossetti (1829-1919), civil servant and critic [more].

6.  letter
See R. N. Wornum to JW, #10442. The letter related to JW's recent quarrel with Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more], which led to his alleged assault on Haden in a Paris café. The quarrel concerned Haden's treatment of James Reeves Traer (ca 1834 - d.1867), partner in F. S. Haden's medical practice [more], who died suddenly on 23 April of alcohol related causes, during a trip to Paris. Haden arranged for Traer's burial, with what JW and his brother William regarded as unseemly haste. A violent row took place between the brothers-in-law and Haden fell (or was allegedly pushed by JW) through a plate glass window. JW, the Rossetti brothers and Haden were all members of the Burlington Fine Arts Club. In the aftermath of their quarrel Haden campaigned for JW to be excluded from the Club (see JW's account of Haden's allegations in his letter to L. Huth, #02240).

7.  proceeding
JW was asked to resign on the threat of expulsion in June 1867 (see R. N. Wornum to JW, #10442).

8.  one member
That is, Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more].