The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 02187
Date: 25 August 1879
Author: Charles Augustus Howell[1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler H283
Document Type: ALS

Fulham House. Fulham. S W.

25, August. 1879 -

My Dear Jimmy -

I met Watts[2] today, & he told me he had found his Carlyle[3], the fact being that he has had it from the very first.

The plate of your mother[4] gave at the 100 of which you have had 25, and now I have to pay God knows what, to try & get another 100; all through the damned copper.

Liberty - Luff[5] - [p. 2] & [Cosens?][6] are down for 3. 3. 0 each against your account, before you filed your petition[7] and will of course not pay me for the proofs - Will you deliver them from your batch of [C?] 25. against your own respective debts, or shall I, you paying me in etchings? Please let me know as their applications must be answered.

Then Mr Jackson MacNeill[8] of S[a]n. Francisco has sent you the 3. 3. 0 will you send him a proof and I will [p. 3] get Graves[9] to write & say that you will do so?

Do let me know about this as I do not wish to give any answer before I hear from you -

Also state "distinctly and in writing" what you will give in work if I secure for you - the Connie - The three girls - and the blue girl[10] - Write to Fulham House - I am away but all letters will be forwarded

Ever Yrs. Aff

C A Howell -

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1.  Charles Augustus Howell
Charles Augustus ('Owl') Howell (1840? - d.1890), entrepreneur [more].

2.  Watts
Walter Theodore Watts (later Watts-Dunton) (1832-1914), solicitor, novelist and poet [more].

3.  Carlyle
Probably a reference to the recently published engraving of Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle (YMSM 137). The first proofs were delivered on 2 December 1878 (Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, I, pp. 226-27). Howell acquired the copyright of the portrait for £80 and six proofs. He also organised the subscriptions.

4.  mother
Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881), née McNeill, JW's mother [more]. This is likely be a reference to an engraving of Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother (YMSM 101) by Richard Josey (1840-1906), reproductive engraver [more] (see A. Graves to JW, #01798) and completed by the end of 1879. Once again, Howell organised subscriptions and, on 1 May 1878, purchased the copyright. By the date of this letter, the first proofs may just have been pulled.

5.  Liberty - Luff
Arthur Lasenby Liberty (1843-1917), designer, founder of Liberty and Co. [more], and Thomas Luff (b. ca 1839), of Luff and Co., Chelsea wine merchant [more] were creditors of JW's (see bankruptcy papers #11926, #11711).

6.  [Cosens?]
Unidentified but presumably another creditor. The name could also be read as Cousins.

7.  petition
JW filed for bankruptcy at the London Bankruptcy Court on 9 May 1879 (#08895).

8.  Mr Jackson MacNeill
Patrick T. Jackson ('Jacks') McNeill (1835-1898), accountant, JW's cousin [more], subscriber.

9.  Graves
Probably Algernon Graves (1845-1922), of H. Graves and Co., print dealers [more], publishers of the engravings of Portrait of the Painter's Mother and Portrait of Thomas Carlyle.

10.  the Connie - The three girls - and the blue girl
See respectively Harmony in Yellow and Gold: The Gold Girl - Connie Gilchrist (YMSM 190); The Three Girls (YMSM 88) and The Blue Girl: Portrait of Connie Gilchrist (YMSM 207). The Connie Gilchrist is mentioned in JW's bankruptcy papers (see #11711) as being claimed by Howell as security on JW's debt to him.