The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 00733
Date: 25 May 1899
Author: John James Cowan[1]
Place: Edinburgh
Recipient: Rosalind Birnie Philip[2]
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler C 234
Document Type: ALS

N. B.

25th May 1899

Dear Miss Philip,

Will you kindly convey to Mr Whistler my hearty thanks for "The Baronet & the Butterfly,"[3] with the valued inscription he has put in it?

Tell him, that I feel a guilty creature, for I have sold the "Piano" picture[4]!

I remember his saying "They sell every blessed thing"!

Mr. Thomson[5] came and tempted me, and I have fallen! I envy the new owner[6], whoever he is.

I hope Mr Whistler will, in a way, be pleased at its changing hands at this price - £2000 St[erlin]g.

Please say further that I will try to hang on to the "Thames."[7] There is no talk of its of being sold.

I go to London tomorrow for 10 days, & will of course visit "The International."[8]

I am sorry that you should be troubled with any of my affairs, and can only thank you, for your letter[9] & for sending off the book to me.

With kindest regards
I am
Yours very truly

J. J. Cowan

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

2.  Rosalind Birnie Philip
Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more].

3.  'The Baronet & the Butterfly'
JW's account of his dispute with Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more], over Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408) was published in Paris on 13 May 1899: Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24].

4.  'Piano' picture
At the Piano (YMSM 24) was then owned by Cowan.

5.  Mr Thomson
David Croal Thomson (1855-1930), art dealer [more] negotiate the sale of At the Piano (YMSM 24); see J. J. Cowan to JW, #00731.

6.  new owner
Edmund Francis Davis (b. 1845), attorney [more]. Thomson sold the picture to him for £2800 or possibly £3000.

7.  'Thames'
The Thames in Ice (YMSM 36), also owned by Cowan. In 1901, Thomson offered £1500 for it, but Cowan refused to sell. However, on 25 October 1901, Whistler advised C. L. Freer to buy it from Cowan for £2000, which he did.

8.  'The International'
The 2nd Exhibition, Pictures, Drawings, Prints and Sculptures, International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers, London, 1899, opened on 7 May 1899, with a catalogue and monogram designed by JW.

9.  letter