System Number: 00731
Date: 19 May 1899
Author: John James Cowan
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler C232
Document Type: ALS
38 WEST REGISTER STREET,
19th May 1899
My dear Whistler,
D. C. Thomson is here now trying to get the picture from me!
He began by offering an advance of £200 & I said I wouldn't think of anything less than £2000, & even that might not induce me to part with it. He has communicated with his client (I don't know who it is, but you will probably).
He recently sold him 3 of [p. 2] your pictures - (one being the little White Girl?)
He has given me an offer open until Monday of £1800 Stg, which is tempting from a purely commercial point of view.
From having been in business all my life I suppose I have more commercial spirit than a lover of art ought to have!
But if I let the picture go I shall be awfully sorry to part with it. I have nothing to compare with it, & I fear rather a mixed lot of pictures in its company - some good & some rubbish. Perhaps [p. 3] you would rather it went alongside these other pictures I speak of that the unknown offerer has?
Thomson is trying his best & says £1800 is an exceptional price just now
I am game to refuse this figure or £2000 Stg if you would rather I did so.
Only you would need to send me a wire on Monday morning, as Thomson comes here on that afternoon.
I haven't yet seen the Baronet & the Butterfly!
Always Your's Sincerely
J. J. Cowan
I do wish the Portrait would turn up! When am I to see it?
7. Baronet & the Butterfly
On 13 May 1899 JW published an account of his dispute with Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more], over Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408): Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24].