The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 05241
Date: [2 May 1867][1]
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti[2]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler R137
Document Type: ALS

[embossed mark:] 'EXTRA / SUPER'


16 Cheyne Walk

My dear Jemmy

The news of poor good Traer's[4] death came to me first through your letter, and as you may suppose has not been out of my mind since - It is terrible and painful news indeed. I must have been about the last person to see him in London [p. 2] as I happened to call on him with Fanny[5], who was unwell, the morning of the day he left. He then struck me as seeming somewhat altered in appearance & anxious though still hearty in manner. Poor fellow, - what a terrible end for so genial and true a nature - away from all friends. Few men have impressed me on so short a knowledge as so well deserving [p. 3] love and sympathy, or so full of these themselves.

The other event recorded in your letter, I do not, as you rightly imagine, regret on any one's Haden's[6] account but your own - But, on that side, even apart from my general feeling on such matters of which I have said enough already, I cannot but deplore that your indignation, though I believe it was just, has led you to do what must [p. 4] cause so much pain to others[7] besides the offender, and certainly to yourself as feeling with them eventually.

Though the present matter is not, as the former one[8], between 2 men both of whose friendship I value, I cannot but deplore that you did not restrain yourself under all the circumstances involved.

I trust shortly to see you again in London. Is not reconciliation between yourself & Legros still possible?

Kind remembrances to your brother[9]
Affectionately[10] yours

D G Rossetti

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [2 May 1867]
Dated from references to J. R. Traer, A. Legros and F. S. Haden (see below).

2.  Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882), artist and poet [more]. See Doughty, Oswald and John Robert Wahl, Letters of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 4 vols., Oxford, 1965-67; and The Correspondence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti 3, ed. William E. Fredeman. Woodbridge, Suffolk: D. S. Brewer, vol. 1, 2003, letter 67.63.

3.  '10'
In another hand, in pencil.

4.  Traer's
James Reeves Traer (ca 1834 - d.1867), partner in F. S. Haden's medical practice [more]. In late April 1867, Traer died suddenly in Paris of alcohol related causes (see document signed A. Brierre de Boismont, 27 April 1867, #11801).

5.  Fanny
Fanny Cornforth (1824-1906), model, mistress and housekeeper to D. G. Rossetti [more].

6.  Haden's
Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more]. Haden arranged for Traer's burial in Paris in what JW and his brother William regarded as a disrespectful and perfunctory manner. The 'event' referred to by Rossetti was the ensuing row between the brothers-in-law on 26 April when Haden fell (or allegedly was pushed by JW) through a plate glass window in a Paris café. Soon afterwards, JW and William made arrangements to have Traer's body returned to his sister in England, assisted by George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909), art dealer in Paris [more] (see G. A. Lucas to W. G. Whistler, 14 June 1867, #02654).

7.  others
Deborah ('Debo' or 'Sis') Delano Haden (1825-1908), née Whistler, JW's half-sister [more], was greatly upset by the rift between Haden and his brothers-in-law and tried to intervene (see D. D. Haden to JW, 27 April 1867, #01915, to W. G. Whistler, [4 May 1867?], #01914, and to JW and W. G. Whistler, 30 April 1867, #01916). Later George William Whistler (1822-1869), engineer, JW's half-brother [more], also intervened, to no avail (see G. Wm. Whistler to F. S. Haden, 26 February 1868, #06681).

8.  former one
A reference to JW's recent quarrel with Alphonse Legros (1837-1911), painter, etcher and art teacher [more]. JW first met Legros in Paris during the late 1850s and together with Ignace-Henri-Jean-Théodore Fantin-Latour (1836-1904), artist [more], they formed the Société des Trois. However by late April 1867, their friendship was over, and they had a row that came to blows. JW's friends tried to intervene but the two were never reconciled (see JW to L. Ionides, 22 April 1867, #11312). The reasons for their quarrel are unclear but they seem to have had a quarrel over Legros' marriage and a protracted dispute about money dating back to 1864 (see Ionides, Luke, Memories, Paris, 1925, p. 74; JW to A. Legros, 13 August 1864, #02505; JW to D. G. Rossetti, 20 April 1867, #05242).

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

10.  Affectionately ... Rossetti
Written at right-angles in left-hand margin.