The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
Home > On-line Edition > Transcription/Database Record

the on-line edition

System Number: 06556
Date: 12 June [1876][1]
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[2]
Place: [Hastings]
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: Whistler W549
Document Type: ALS

Talbot House

Monday June 12th

Dearest Jamie[3]

The only way I can devise to get some articles from my own trunk, by obtaining the key (you have in your private locked drawer - is to enclose a stamped & directed envelope, to save you time, & try to impress how uncomfortable I am for want of change of raiment[,] I have asked your Sister[4] to get & send to me. I suppose this will be read before your going down for the day! at least I hope so or it may escape your attention I even slip in a piece of letter paper to fold round the key, & beg you to fasten the adhesive securely.

Your Sister is so amiable as to make no remark at her failing in the second attempt to speak to you but I naturally regret it knowing how unequal she yet is to fatiguing distances, & that she really wished & expected to see you, if only for a few minutes with pallet & brushes filling your hands! I have once a week a pencilled note from her, telling me how much more in the visiting way has to be done than she is yet up to, she cannot refuse the request of a friend to contribute to a Musical Soirée, the Lady D[5] gives to night, to the blind King of Hanover[6], Sis is to play the Kruger Sonata[7] of Beethoven - accompanied by a great violin "swell" professional - M Wienovski[8] - How I should like to listen incog[nito]! for I delight in such tones as her fairy fingers & feeling never fail to produce. Have you heard of an operatic composition of Miss Florence Oliffe[9], in which Annie Haden[10] was a star last week? Blue Beard[11] the piece. At a mutual visiting acquaintance house, in or near Sloane St (I think) a select audience, I hope the Potters[12] were among them,

[p. 2] I so seldom get a glimpse, or desire to, of the London Season, it seems a dissolving view. My enjoyment of the loveliness of nature surrounding me is so concentrating. I am very grateful for the soft summer air from the sea coming in at the bow window thro venetian shade[s]. I shall now go out for my afternoon go softly walk! as I did before my 2 ocl repast. At No 50[13] in this terrace roses in full bloom perfume the air, & white carnations mingle their sweetness. I am so fond of roses, & never forget those Miss Caird[14] supplied my sick room with. I think of dear Fanny Leyland[15] too. My love to them all. I wish they could come to my sweet home, You promise to do so dearest Jamie for a few days when you can! Maybe the next new moon! I hope so. Tell Willie[16] I feel better for the serenity of nature. I breathe the soft air with ease & am freed by it from pain in my side. Thanks be to our Merciful Lord, who shews by sweet lovely flowers & radient [sic] skies, He delights to make all who love Him happy! the deep blue sea beyond the green slopes [is] so refreshing, I never weary of such sameness, or feel lonely,

Share my love with dear Willie - God bless you both prays


Another love[17] letter from Cousin Kate[18] to me came on Saturday - I sent to Sis.
Remember me[19] to Mad[a]me Venturi[20] & to Mrs Alexander[21]

This document is protected by copyright.


Mrs Seymour Haden
38 Hertford St
May Fair

Enclosed[22] is the key of Mothers trunk. at your convenience to use. A M W


1.  1876
Dated from address. AMW moved to Hastings in August 1875 for her health; see AMW to James H. Gamble, 9 September 1875, #06555.

2.  Anna Matilda Whistler
Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881), née McNeill, JW's mother [more].

3.  Jamie
James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), artist [more].

4.  Sister
Deborah ('Debo' or 'Sis') Delano Haden (1825-1908), née Whistler, JW's half-sister [more].

5.  Lady D
Lady Denbigh. The Times reported the social event as follows: "...the King & Princess Federica dined with Lord and Lady Denbigh, at 2, Cromwell houses, South Kensington ... Lady Denbigh afterwards had an evening party." See 'King George of Hanover,' The Times, London, 13 June 1876, p. 8.

6.  King of Hanover
George V of Hanover (1819-1878), succeeded 1851; he was blind after 1833.

7.  Kruger Sonata
Probably a reference to Beethoven's violin sonata in A major, Op. 47, known as the 'Kreutzer Sonata.' It was dedicated to Rodolphe Kreutzer (1766-1831), violinist.

8.  M Wienovski
Probably Henryk Wieniawski (1835-1880), violinist and composer [more].

9.  Florence Oliffe
Probably Florence Eveleen Bell (1851-1930), née Oliffe, musician [more].

10.  Annie Haden
Annie Harriet Haden (1848-1937), later Mrs Charles Thynne, JW's niece [more].

11.  Blue Beard
'Blue Beard' (Barbe Bleue) an operetta written in 1866, by Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880), composer. AMW made a mistake thinking that the sonata was composed by Florence Oliffe; see The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, London, 2001, vol. 18, p. 351.

12.  Potters
Probably John Gerald Potter (1829-1908), wallpaper manufacturer and patron [more], and his wife.

13.  No 50
AMW was living at Talbot House, 43 St Mary's Terrace, Hastings.

14.  Miss Caird
Ellen Caird, friend of Mrs F. Leyland, possibly a sister of Sir James Caird (see #02566, and #08059).

15.  Fanny Leyland
Fanny Leyland (1857-1880), later Mrs Stevenson-Hamilton [more].

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

17.  Another love ... to Sis
Written at right angles to main text in right-hand margin of p. 1.

18.  Cousin Kate
Kate ('Cousin Kate') Livermore (1820-1907), née Prince, wife of A. Livermore [more].

19.  Remember me ... Alexander
Written at right angles in left-hand margin of p.1.

20.  Mad[a]me Venturi
Emilie Venturi (d. 1893), née Ashurst, wife (1) of Sydney Hawkes, and (2) Carlo Venturi [more]. She was a neighbour of AMW at Lindsey Row; see AMW to James H. Gamble, 10 - 20 April 1872, #06549.

21.  Mrs Alexander
Rachel Agnes Alexander (b. ca 1837, m. 1861), née Lucas, wife of W. C. Alexander [more]; see AMW's letter to R. A. Alexander, 26 August [1872], #07571.

22.  Enclosed
'Enclosed ... AMW' written on inside flap of envelope.