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

the on-line edition

System Number: 06677
Date: 7 October 1863
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: George William Whistler[1]
Place: [London?]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W671
Document Type: ALS[2]

'Ans. Oct. 12 / 63.[3]'

7. Lindsey Row -
Old Battersea bridge
Chelsea - London.

Oct. 7. 1863.

Dear George -

I regret excessively that I should have been absent from town until now, and thus have left your anxieties uncalmed all this while! - Your letter[4] of course I found on my return, and, on reading it, sympathised at once with your grief on learning the price of my etchings and dry points, to a whole series[5] of which you had, your memory told you, in a rash moment recklessly pledged [p. 2] yourself as a thoughtless purchaser! Ruin, you say would doubtless be the end of this wild engagement - I see it with all your own agony and really only wish you had been spared a week's painful suspense - My dear George, you are quite right - two guineas apiece is a large price for my etchings! unfortunately though it is their price, and they are devilish dear - they are expensive [articles?] objects of luxury, and an extravagance that not every one ought to permit himself -

[p. 3] A family man like you, for instance, might well do without them, and indeed now that I reflect I fear that really I have launched you into art with foolish inconsiderateness, that I might hereafter have to reproach myself with - Your daily life requires nothing of the kind, and why should you unwisely begin! - Now my dear brother we will make it all right immediately, - send me back with care, by some express Co. the six etchings nicely packed - without delay - and so far no harm will be done - Also give me a [p. 4] letter to Messrs Carey[6]. to restore to me the case containing the sea piece[7]; and I will see that you are not troubled with the bill from the frame maker, or if he have already sent it, I will return you the sum, together with the £84: - : - and then all will be as it ought to be between us; - for it is absurd that the tastes of one brother for his own works! should be expensively forced upon the other! - Allons[8]! Give me like a good chap, in your answer, a little drawing of our crest[9] and motto, as I want it very much - don't forget -

Debo[10], I hear has just come back in good health, I shall see her tomorrow -

Love to Jule[11] -

Your affectionate brother

James A Whistler -

Poor Aunt Alicia[12] is dead! -

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  George William Whistler
George William Whistler (1822-1869), engineer, JW's half-brother [more].

2.  ALS
Published in Thorp, Nigel (Editor), Whistler on Art: Selected Letters and Writings 1849-1903 of James McNeill Whistler, Manchester, 1994, and Washington, 1995, no. 7, pp. 12-13.

3.  Ans. Oct. 12 / 63.
Written at the top in another hand. George Whistler's reply has not been traced.

4.  letter
Not traced.

5.  series
A Series of Sixteen Etchings of Scenes on the Thames, 1871 (the 'Thames Set') (K.38-44, 46, 52, 66, 68, 71, 74-76, 95) (excat 4)

6.  Carey
Presumably art dealers or carriers.

7.  sea piece
The Coast of Brittany (YMSM 37).

8.  Allons
Fr., go on!

9.  crest
The McNeill crest appears on JW's stationery, but he was not really entitled to it.

10.  Debo
Deborah ('Debo' or 'Sis') Delano Haden (1825-1908), née Whistler, JW's half-sister [more]; often referred to as 'Debo' or 'Sis'.

11.  Jule
Julia de Kay Whistler (1825-1875), née Winans, JW's sister-in-law [more].

12.  Alicia
Alicia Margaret Caroline McNeill (1786-1863), JW's aunt [more]; #07509 is a note on her death; #00575 mentions her death and gives details of her will