The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 01739
Date: [22 March 1878][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Edward William Godwin[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler G105
Document Type: ALS

'recd Mar 22. 78'[3]

The most important thing is to have Vulliamys last letter[4] to you safe again in our hands - meanwhile stick to the drawing which he has signed and the game is really ours - Wickham Flower[5] says that without a doubt they are obliged to give the lease immediately upon demand - and they are simply beaten -

I suppose you are not well enough to get down there on Monday or Tuesday and see West[6] about the [p. 2] Jeckyll stoves[7] for the rooms - Some of them have come and he doesn't know where they are to go - Also what about tiles to go round them -

I want those plain simpl[e] yellow ones that Watt[8] has from Doulton's[9] - I cannot [abide][10] any of the other abominations -

[butterfly signature]

I have given West the plan for garden and corridor &c &c - and he is going on at once!

Thomas Carlyle[11] has been down to the house with me this morning!!!! and is delighted - and highly enchanted with the story of the Board! -

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1.  [22 March 1878]
Dated by recipient.

2.  Edward William Godwin
Edward William Godwin (1833-1886), architect and designer [more]. He was the designer of JW's new house and studio, the White House on Tite Street.

3.  'recd Mar 22. 78'
Written in pencil by Godwin.

4.  Vulliamys last letter
George John Vulliamy (1817-1886), Superintending Architect with the Metropolitan Board of Works, London [more]. This was probably his letter of 19 March 1878, certifying that JW was entitled to receive his lease from the Metropolitan Board of Works when the alterations demanded by them and indicated on Godwin's latest elevation of the facade had been completed (#04055).

5.  Wickham Flower
Wickham Flower (b. ca 1836), solicitor and collector [more].

6.  West
West, a joiner or handyman working on the White House, Chelsea.

7.  Jeckyll stoves
Thomas Jeckyll (1827-1881), architectural designer [more]. Jeckyll designed fire-grates for the revolutionary slow-combustion stoves invented by Barnard, Bishop and Barnards of Norwich. The first of his 'Norwich stoves' was registered at the Patent Office in 1873. They were produced in a range of shapes, sizes, materials and prices throughout the century. The surface decoration incorporated motifs showing a strong Japanese influence. Circular medallions of stylised chrysanthemums or sunflowers were set asymetrically on a background of reeding or fretwork. Jeckyll's emblem, a moth, comparable to JW's butterfly, completed the designs (Merrill, Linda, The Peacock Room. A Cultural Biography, New Haven and London, 1998, pp. 161-62, figs. 4.11-12).

8.  Watt
William Watt (d. 1885), of William Watt and Co., art furniture makers [more] of 21 Grafton Street produced and sold some of the finest furniture of the Aesthetic Movement, including cabinets designed by Godwin with panels painted by his wife (see M. F. MacDonald, "The Beatrice Cabinet", in Beatrice Whistler. Artist and Designer, exhibition catalogue, Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow, 1997, pp. 22-23). Godwin and JW collaborated on a stand for Watt at the Universal Exhibition, Paris, 1878. This was sometimes called the 'Primrose Room' and incorporated 'pale sulphur tiles' ('The Paris Universal exhibition V', Magazine of Art, September 1878, 1, p. 116). Merrill has suggested that the 'Primrose Room' was intended for the White House (Merrill, Linda, The Peacock Room. A Cultural Biography, New Haven and London, 1998, p. 261). As displayed in Paris, it incorporated one of Jeckyll's stoves (see above) and the shelves were the setting for chinese porcelain from Liberty's. The stove and tiles were later removed and the side panels converted into doors in their place, to create what is now known as Harmony in Yellow and Gold: The Butterfly Cabinet (YMSM 195).

9.  Doulton's
Doulton and Co. (Ltd.), Lambeth, London, were active from about 1870-1940. Though later famous for such elaborate decorative schemes as Harrods' Food Halls, they also produced coloured tiles; see Desmond Eyles, Royal Doulton, Paul Atterbury and Louise Irvine, The Doulton Story, 1979; Terence A. Lockett, Collecting Victorian Tiles, Antique Collectors Club, Suffolk, 1979, p. 56.

10.  [abide]
JW left a word out of this sentence, and 'abide' was suggested in Merrill's quotation of the passage (Merrill, Linda, The Peacock Room. A Cultural Biography, New Haven and London, 1998, p. 261).

11.  Thomas Carlyle
Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), historian and philosopher [more].