The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 06268
Date: [April 1902/1903][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: William Webb[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W262
Document Type: ALd

Re Ashbee[3]

Dear Mr. Webb -

Some action must be taken at once - for the condition of things has become absolutely intolerable

A detailed slight account of much that took place this afternoon has already been sent on to you - but [p. 2] I would add that the matter admits is of no further shilly shallying and pretended vital as far as my work goes - one of us must stop! Either the hammering and noise must cease entirely and at once - or I must leave! -

We cannot be any longer trifled with by Mr Ashbee or nor or his misleading letters of good intention & irresponsibility

The situation must be faced at once immediately -

Mr A I have fallen into a trap - that is the English of it - And it is all very well for my landlord to propose that he is not answerable for the building

The land was his, even if he have been sharp enough to dispose of it - when and he has allowed me to come in here as his tenant he knew what was to go on thatperfectly wellknowing perfectly well what was going on to go on!

[p. 3] In short I was at a disadvantage in treating with Mr. Ashbee's [duty?] "an honorable man" was and an architect and the result is this

I took no steps to enquire - and never dreamed that this architect gentleman was lying low to do this double business of letting land and engineering the building on the one hand, and obtaining at the same a tenant to occupy his own house during the time that he himself could not live and work in the place

There shall be no shuffling here - And here we come upon the meaning of the strange His and unusual term of lease - two years! [Instead?] time sufficient for completion of building and restoration of quiet so that Mr Ashbee may return to the possession & enjoyment of his own house!

[p. 4] Meanwhile I am to be pacified with little notes of worthless promises. and expression of regret - that whereas practi The foreman we are told is to "be as care ful as possible of Mr Whistler's comfort"! Whatever that may mean - while practically the servant sent to remonstrate, with the is laughed at met with insolent [message?] prevarication, impertinent & finally open laughter - and the abominable noise is deliberately continued and I have to give up my work -

[Indeed?] Mr Ashbee Mr Ashbee then is without excuse -

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1.  [April 1902/1903]
Dated from the reference to Ashbee and 74 Cheyne Walk (see below). '1902' is written in another hand on p. 4.

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

3.  Ashbee
Charles Robert Ashbee (1863-1942), architect [more], leased 72 Cheyne Walk to JW in March 1902. JW lived there for the remainder of his life with the Birnie Philip family. 'Ashbee' is double underlined.