The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 01937
Date: 16 June 1867
Author: Francis Seymour Haden[1]
Place: London
Recipient: Dante Gabriel Rossetti[2]
Place: London
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler H38
Document Type: ALS

62 Sloane St.

June 16th 1867

Dear Mr Rossetti

As I find that my brother-in-law[3] has consulted you about the matter[4] I have brought before the Com[mit]tee of the Burlington Fine Arts Club[5], (than wh. perhaps he could not have done a wiser thing, and for myself I can truly say I am glad he has referred to you for advice) I think it may simplify your action if I let you know at once the [p. 2] nature and extent of the communication I have made to the Comm[i]ttee[.] I therefore enclose you a Copy of a memorandum[6] of what, in substance, I said to them. (enclosure A)

So much for the Club, upon which I shall not trouble you again.

As to my general relations with the brothers[7] Whistler they have become of a very painful nature, and [p. 3] it would be the greatest relief to me to find that any two or four of our mutual friends were disposed to institute a searching investigation into them. If, as a well wisher to the Whistlers', you should think such an investigation[8] conducive to their interest and consent to assist in it, I wd immediately nominate two friends of my own and answer any questions put [p. 4] to me.

I am, dear Mr Rossetti
faithfully Yrs

F. Seymour Haden

G. D. Rossetti [sic] Esq

This document is protected by copyright.


G. D. Rossetti Esq:
Tudor House - Cheyne Walk


1.  Francis Seymour Haden
Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more].

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

3.  brother-in-law
That is, JW.

4.  matter
In April 1867, JW quarrelled with Haden over his treatment of James Reeves Traer (ca 1834 - d.1867), partner in F. S. Haden's medical practice [more]. Traer 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. On 26 April a violent row took place between the brothers-in-law in a Paris café and Haden fell (or allegedly was pushed by JW) through a plate glass window. Both JW and Haden were members of the Burlington Club and in the aftermath of the Traer affair Haden campaigned for JW to be excluded from the club, having brought to its attention several alleged previous incidents of assault involving JW (JW to L. Huth, #02240). On 11 June, JW received a request for his resignation from the Club on the threat of expulsion (see R. N. Wornum to JW, #10442). Aggrieved with the summary way in which he felt the Club had treated him, JW refused to entertain the charges against him, claiming the Club had no right to interfere in a private matter (JW to R. N. Wornum, #00436).

5.  Burlington Fine Arts Club
A club for artists and connoisseurs, founded around June 1866. It was located at 177, Piccadilly. JW was proposed as a member on 12 March 1867 (see William Boxall (1800-1879), portrait painter, Director of the National Gallery [more], Louis Huth (1821-1905), collector [more], and the Vittorio Emanuelle Taparelli (1816-1890), Marquis D'Azeglio, Sardinian Ambassador and collector [more], proposers, #11957).

6.  memorandum
See Enclosure A, #01938, a statement of Haden's charge against JW.

7.  brothers
JW and William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more].

8.  investigation
No such mediation seems to have taken place. Nor did D. G. Rossetti take up Haden's suggestion. However, members of both families did attempt to intervene, including George William Whistler (1822-1869), engineer, JW's half-brother [more] (see G. Wm Whistler to F. S. Haden, #06681) and Rosamund ('Rose') Horsley (b. ca 1821), née Haden, sister of F. S. Haden [more] (see R. Haden to F. S. Haden, #12410).