The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 06081
Date: 15 April 1880
Author: Thomas Way[1]
Place: London
Recipient: William McNeill Whistler[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W78
Document Type: ALS


April 15th 1880.

My dear Dr Whistler -

We have had our final meeting and nothing more is to be said about the 3 Girls[3] or the pictures at yours about which bye [sic] the way Mr Leyland[4] was good enough to take my word that they were of no commercial value & did not belong to the Estate. I think you will be surprised at Mr Lewis's[5] proceeding.

Everything was arranged as well as I could wish - My offer for the canvasses &c accepted - the two with you to be left unmolested and [p. 2] the question of Mr Leylands claim[6] to be referred to the decision of Lewis. We were on our legs ready to go - when in came the Clerk from him - with the decision that Mr Leyland's claim was indefensable [sic] and that the picture must be delivered to him forthwith! - Of course there was nothing that I could say or do in the face of this.

Your letter I could not quote, and I could only console myself with the reflection that after all it is better that it should be with Leyland than in the hands of a rascally dealer who might have [p. 3] bought it had it been put up for sale -

I must beg you to exonerate me from blame when you write to or see your brother[7] - I have done what I could to carry out his wishes & to be defeated through the defection of the person paid most handsomely to protect his interests is most annoying -

Good bye my dear Doctor - When we meet again if we ever do I trust we shall have a happier subject of conversation -

Yours faithfully.

Thomas Way.

[p. 4] 'Way.'[8]

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1.  Thomas Way
Thomas Way (1837-1915), lithographic printer [more]. He was one of the chief creditors at JW's bankruptcy, and these creditors met under the guidance of Messrs Waddell to settle the final details (see #08899). Published in Spink, Nesta R., The Lithographs of James McNeill Whistler, gen. eds Harriet K. Stratis and Martha Tedeschi, Chicago, 1998, vol. 2, p. 34, no. 4.

2.  William McNeill Whistler
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more]. He must have sent this letter on to JW.

3.  3 Girls
The Three Girls (YMSM 88).

4.  Mr Leyland
Frederick Richards Leyland (1832-1892), ship-owner and art collector [more]. He was one of JW's chief creditors.

5.  Mr Lewis's
Sir George Henry Lewis (1833-1911), society lawyer [more].

6.  Mr Leylands claim
It is not entirely clear which picture Leyland claimed. He had commissioned portraits of himself and family, not all of which were complete. He had also commissioned The Three Girls (YMSM 88), but since JW did not consider it complete he had destroyed it, leaving only fragments, so that it could not be included in his bankruptcy sale. Any work started after JW was declared bankrupt on 6 May 1879, was his own, and so Leyland was not entitled to JW's copy of The Three Girls (YMSM 88), namely Pink and Grey: Three Figures (YMSM 89).

7.  brother
JW was in Venice.

8.  'Way.'
Added in another hand, perhaps that of Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].