The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 06245
Date: [16 January 1898][1]
Author: JW
Place: [Paris]
Recipient: William Webb[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W240
Document Type: ALS[3]

Sunday - '1899'

Dear Mr. Webb -

I fear my wire of yesterday did not get to the office in time to catch you - Now I have had, in the sudden emergency, to give another cheque for the hundred guineas (Valentine) to the Eden[4] lawyers!! - I enclose copies of [p. 2] letters[5] which will explain the state of things yesterday -

Maitre Bazille[6] is the Avoué who, in the Court of Appeal, takes Ratiers[7] place -

You see that when the moment came for paying the costs and my bill was made out, I gave Bazille cheque for total minus the hundred guineas, which I said Ratier held from the beginning. - At this he was much astonished! and I was well pleased to be able to produce your notes giving date of your letter to Ratier (20 Feb. 1895) enclosing letter of credit - And also the later information from London & Westminster Bank to effect that letter had not as yet been drawn upon - and this as I pointed out to Bazille was a recent acknowledgement on the part of the Bank of the money at the disposal of Ratier - Wherefore he had only to go to Ratier and tell him to draw as he liked but now to give him an immediate cheque for the £105! -

The next thing, I get, yesterday, Bazilles letter[8] - (copy enclosed with my answer) -

You see there has been clearly some neglect, carelessness or procrastination in leaving the matter to the very last moment[9] - which is the real reason for the mess! I think you will approve of my letter to Bazille - But now let us do the immediate right thing -

Had you not better at once tomorrow morning write to Ratier -
"Monsieur le Sénateur Antony Ratier
Avoué à la Cour de Paris
68. Rue de la Chaussée d'Autin, Paris["]

[p. 3] and say "We are surprised to learn, from our client Mr Whistler, that the hundred guineas we paid to your credit, Fb. 20. 1895, to be produced in Court when called for in the Eden case, you have never received - We now send copy of our letter, to yourself, as Mr Whistlers lawyers, Transferring to you the sum he had paid into our hands for that purpose - Also follows copy of letter of credit from L. & Westminster Bank - - We beg that you will refer to correspondence of that date & kindly acknowledge the same.

Mr Whistler informs us that under pressure of circumstances, he has been forced [to] write a second cheque for the hundred guineas - and you will readily understand that we cannot accept any implication of neglect on our part, or responsability in Mr Whistler's present annoyance,

We shall at once advise the bank, and withdraw the sum referred to - & return to Mr Whistler -

We are, dear Sir -
&c &c G & W. Webb -

Did[10] you ever get my cards for the New Year? . /

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [16 January 1898]
Dated from the references to Sunday, New Year and the Eden v Whistler case; this letter is related to one from Webb to A. Ratier, 17 January 1898, #06244. The date '1899' written in a later hand, is incorrect.

2.  William Webb
William Webb (b. ca 1851), of G. and W. Webb, lawyer [more].

3.  ALS
Written on deep-bordered mourning paper.

4.  Eden
Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more]. This relates to JW's dispute with Eden over Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408). On 14 February 1894, with the picture seemingly nearing completion, Eden sent JW a 'Valentine' cheque for 100 guineas. But JW was dissatisfied with his work and refused to hand it over. In November 1894 Eden commenced legal proceedings. By December 1897, JW, on appeal, was permitted by the Cour de Cassation in Paris to keep the picture provided that he did not make use of it. However even then, the case lingered on for some months afterwards. In 1899, JW published his account of the affair: Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24].

5.  letters

6.  Maitre Bazille
Maitre Bazille, lawyer, Cour d'Appel, Paris. Avoué, Fr., advocate.

7.  Ratiers
Antoine ('Antony') Ratier (b. 1851), lawyer and politician [more].

8.  Bazilles letter

9.  very last moment

10.  Did
This sentence is written in the left margin, at right angles to the main text.