The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 02569
Date: 17 August 1876
Author: Frederick Richards Leyland[1]
Place: Liverpool
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler L105
Document Type: ALS


17th Aug 1876

My dear Whistler,

I enclose cheque for £50 in accordance with your telegram[2].

Seeing the doubt there is of the gilding[3] on the stairs standing you had better do no more there. [p. 2] It looks very well as it is; and had better stand over until we see whether it will be lasting enough for the work put on it. -

I was sorry to miss you when in town. I liked very much the ornament[4] on the cove; and altogether the room will be a great success.

I don't think I [p. 3] shall be in town again for some time - probably not before you start for Venice[5] - so when you have finished the dining room you had better write and let me know how much more I owe[6] you -

Yours sincerely

Fredk. R. Leyland

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1.  Frederick Richards Leyland
Frederick Richards Leyland (1832-1892), ship-owner and art collector [more].

2.  telegram

3.  gilding
The gilding on Panels from the Entrance Hall at 49 Princes Gate (YMSM 175). For a more detailed discussion of JW's decorative work on the stair panels, see Merrill, Linda, The Peacock Room. A Cultural Biography, New Haven and London, 1998, pp. 178-83. Merrill suggests (p. 183) that JW's scheme originally extended to the whole room and was only halted at Leyland's request.

4.  ornament
Probably the blue wave pattern and other details that JW had recently painted on the coving of the room (see JW to F. R. Leyland #08791).

5.  start for Venice
JW intended to leave for Venice sometime in September 1876 in order to work. Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881), née McNeill, JW's mother [more] wrote to a friend in early September: 'dear Jemie came to me for a day or two's rest last month, [...] he came to bid me goodbye in anticipation of soon going to Venice to make a set of 12 etchings' (see A. M. Whistler to J. H. Gamble, #06560).

6.  owe
Leyland expected to pay no more than £1000 for what he anticipated would be minor alterations to the dining room at Prince's Gate (see F. R. Leyland to JW, #02574). JW, on the other hand, expected 2000 guineas for work which had ended up taking the best part of a year to complete. This misunderstanding had a catastrophic effect on JW's finances and led to his quarrel with Leyland. Leyland, as a major creditor, later became a trustee of JW's bankrupt estate (see List of Creditors, #08886).