The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 04193
Date: 1 July 1879
Author: Sydney Morse[1]
Place: [London]
Recipient: Charles Augustus Howell[2]
Place: London
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler M463
Document Type: ALS[3]

1st July 1879

Dear Sir,

What is the meaning of all this mystery relating to the top of the Cabinet[4] I purchased from Mr Whistler.

The Cabinet Maker in Bloomsbury who had it in hand for repair tells me that you yourself took it away from his shop some six or eight months back. Mr Theo Allingham[5] who has been sparing no trouble to effect a settlement writes in answer[6] to my last letter "I cannot understand the course some one or other is adopting." Please to [p. 2] send down the top to me without any further delay.

I may mention that I am holding back the balance owing to Mr Whistler until I receive the missing top.

Yours truly

Sydney Morse

P. S. Please address me here if you write.

C. A. Howell Eq
Fulham House

By some[7] happy accident I had pitched upon the right man! Needless to say his name was not the same as that of any servant of mine


I wrote[8] Howell certainly other letters[9] each stronger than the last but received no answer in writing[.] He used to go & see Coronio[10] & tell him it the top was on its way &c but &c[.] I have not copies of these

S. M.

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1.  Sydney Morse
Sydney Morse (1854-1929), solicitor [more].

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

3.  ALS
Both p. 1 and p. two have '20' written at the top, in pencil.

4.  Cabinet
A Chinese 'pagoda' cabinet sold by JW to Morse in September 1878. Soon afterwards, it became the subject of an elaborate deception between JW, Allingham, Morse and Charles Augustus ('Owl') Howell (1840? - d.1890), entrepreneur [more]. In December 1878, Morse requested the missing head-piece of the cabinet. However, Howell claimed that he had taken it in for repair (S. Morse to C. A. Howell, #04192). It later turned out that he had pawned it. JW published his version of events in Whistler, James McNeill, Correspondence. Paddon Papers. The Owl and the Cabinet, London, [1882].

5.  Theor Allingham
Theodore Frederick Allingham (b. 1845), solicitor [more].

6.  answer
See T. F. Allingham to S. Morse, #00153.

7.  By some ... mine - S M
Inserted in left margin of p. 1.

8.  I wrote ... S. M.
Inserted in lower left margin of p. 2.

9.  other letters
See S. Morse to C. A. Howell, #04192. Further letters are untraced.

10.  Coronio
Probably Georges Coronio (1831-1895), broker, banker and collector [more].