The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 07207
Date: 2 December 1892
Author: Edward Guthrie Kennedy[1]
Place: New York
Recipient: JW
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W1195
Document Type: ALS

[scroll:] H. WUNDERLICH & CO.
H W & CO.
868 B'WAY N- Y-

Dec. 2 / 92.

Dear Mr. Whistler,

Mr. Bancroft[2] called to-day and has added another unpleasant chapter to the history of the painting's [sic] purchased from Cavafy[3]. He says that the pictures[4] were his, that you treated him shabbily by inducing Cavafy to return his cheque after it had been accepted. Also that he might easily recover damages from Cavafy, which he (Cavafy) admits, but thinks that Cavafy was deceived by you, but so will not have anything done about it. He further adds, that he would not promise you one of the pictures, because it was at your solicitation that they were bought by him, and he had not seen them. Besides, he did not say positively [p. 2][5] that he would not[6] give you one of them. He thinks, in short, that you have been badly treated him, and while not pretending to have any legal claim on the pictures, he does think he has a moral right to them. Now, how about this? You put me in the way of these pictures and I do not want to take any steps in this matter without consulting you. I think it therefore only fair to notify you of his feelings, and my desire to to [sic] right in this affair. Should the pictures be restored to him, if this is so?

I do not see why I should be bothered anyway, as I have nothing to do with this quarrel. "A plague on both your houses" say I. Kindly reply at once & oblige

Yours very truly,

E. G. Kennedy.

[p. 3] P. S.
A few words more.
Bancroft has undoubtedly right on his side and the pictures should be his. I am willing to forego all profit in this matter[7]. I have sold "The Balcony[8]" but the other two I have at home, and unless you have strong objections I am willing to let B— have them.

E. G. K.

Let me hear from you

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1.  Edward Guthrie Kennedy
Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932), dealer with H. Wunderlich and Co., New York [more].

2.  Mr. Bancroft
John Chandler Bancroft (1822-1907), politician, diplomat and collector [more].

3.  Cavafy
Dr John Cavafy (ca 1839-1901), physician and collector, son of G. J. Cavafy [more].

4.  pictures
The Last of Old Westminster (YMSM 39), Battersea Reach (YMSM 45), Variations in Flesh Colour and Green: The Balcony (YMSM 56), Harmony in Blue and Silver: Trouville (YMSM 64).

5.  [p. 2]
The printed address header is repeated at the top of p. 2 (as on p. 1).

6.  not
Double underlined in purple ink, in the hand of Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more], who also added a note at the top of the sheet : 'He did say he would not for I sat by and heard him B W.'

7.  I am willing to forego all profit in this matter
'I am willing ... matter' was underlined by Beatrix Whistler in purple ink. A related note was added at the foot of the page: 'The man is quite mad for Gods sake why is Bancroft to make money out of these pictures!!!'

8.  The Balcony
Variations in Flesh Colour and Green: The Balcony (YMSM 56) had been bought by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919), industrialist, collector and founder of the Freer Gallery of Art [more].