The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 04191
Date: 12 December 1887
Author: Hargrave Morrison[1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler M461
Document Type: ALS


78 Upper Tulse Hill

Decr 12th 1887.

Dear Sir,

Some few years ago when residing in Old Chelsea, my Mother Brother and Sister[3] then alive, I had the pleasure for many years of being in daily communication with you and your mother[4], and therefor[e] feeling much interested in you and your doings [p. 2] and seeing much of your work, and hoping some day to be the possessor of of [sic] one, no matter how small (not photo's[5] as I still retain several given me by you and your Mother). "Mais l'homme propose et Dieu dispose[6]" and now as I think of you as President of the Royal Society of British Artists[7], the hope seems forlorn.

However my friends here (one of them in particular who always speaks of you as the Greatest of living Artists) [p. 3] are desirous of having my portrait -

I have occasionally thought I know not if it is a mean one, knowing I have no legal claim on you, that you are somewhat indebted[8] to me, and if you think so, and entertain such feelings, if I say it were possible and you would consent to wipe out such, as well as for Auld Lang Synes' sake by pourtraying [sic] my unworthy phiz, how pleased I should be of the honor done me, and of again renewing the acquaintance [p. 4] of one who I always considered a friend

I am dear Sir
truly yours

Hargrave Morrison.

To J. A. McN Whistler Esqe

P. S. If you consider I have asked extravagantly and reminded you unpleasantly of my thoughts, pray excuse it and burn this communication -

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1.  Hargrave Morrison
Hargrave Morrison (b. 1817), oil and colour merchant [more]. The first page of his letter bears a thin mourning border.

2.  answered
Written in JW's hand. He agreed to paint a portrait (#09233) but did not, as far as is known, paint any such portrait.

3.  my Mother Brother and Sister
Not identified.

4.  mother
Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881), née McNeill, JW's mother [more].

5.  photo's
JW had photographs of many paintings made in the early 1870s, including Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother (YMSM 101).

6.  Mais l'homme propose et Dieu dispose
Fr., But man proposes and God disposes.

7.  Royal Society of British Artists
JW was elected President of the RBA in 1886.

8.  indebted
Morrison was listed among JW's creditors by the London Bankruptcy Court on 7 May 1879 (#11711; see also E. Newman to J. A. Rose, 28 March 1879, #11912).