The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 00708
Date: [February 1895][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: John James Cowan[2]
Place: [Edinburgh]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler C209
Document Type: ALS[3]


My dear Mr. Cowan -

Your letter[4] has been forwarded to me here - where we have been for ages, I am sure you will both be very sorry to hear, because of my wife's health[5]-

We came upon the advice of my brother[6], that we might be near him and have the advantage of English nursing and care -

These long weeks of cruel weather [p. 2] have been terribly against us - and my wife is still not well - but we hope soon to get back to our home[7], for we have had a sad time of it since we left it -

All this will show you why there has been this strange silence, and why your very kind letter has remained without an answer - As you may well imagine, I have been unable to think of anything -

But now we send you many messages and our best wishes for this new year - though they do come late! -

We look forward then to seeing you and Mrs. Cowan[8] in the studio and the garden - for there ought to be an early spring after this terrible winter! - And then to the sittings and the charming readings[9] to encourage us -

With our very kindest regards to you both, always sincerely yours

J McN. Whistler

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1.  [February 1895]
Dated from the address, reference to the New Year and to Beatrix Whistler's health (see below).

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

3.  ALS
Written at right-angles to the printed address.

4.  letter
Untraced. It probably related to Arrangement in Grey and Green: Portrait of J. J. Cowan (YMSM 402). Cowan first posed for JW in Paris in May-June 1893. The picture was never finished although he gave JW sixty sittings between 1893 and 1900.

5.  my wife's health
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more], was ill with cervical cancer.

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

7.  home
That is, 110 rue du Bac, the Whistlers' home in Paris.

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

9.  readings
Mrs Cowan read Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island aloud in the studio during the sittings in May 1893. See Cowan, John J., From 1846-1932, Edinburgh, 1933, pp. 156-57, 168-73.