The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 07282
Date: 24 September 1896
Author: Edward Guthrie Kennedy[1]
Place: New York
Recipient: JW
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W1270
Document Type: ALS


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

Sep. 24th 1896.

Well, my dear friend, here we are again, all ready for work, and plenty of work there is to do in the way of writing, making catalogues, blarneying &c. &c.

I received a letter from Thompson[2] [sic] the other day. He said that you were at his place when he was away on vacation.

The latest yarn here is that Whistler is going to Rome to live!!

Lately I thought perhaps you might possibly have told some incautious friend that you were going to Rome or turning towards Rome, meaning that you were thinking of turning to the Roman Catholic religion! You [p. 2] may remember that you told me at Honfleur that you might do so some time. Of course I never thought of the matter again until this "going to Rome" was talked of. Indeed some one had it the other day that Whistler had gone to Rome! I presume you are in London or Paris yet, or at Lyme Regis giving the little shops a few finishing touches & finishing the beautiful half lengths of the girls so charmingly commenced. I have the memo. from Thompson of the Shipment of "Sarasate[3]", which latter is in the Custom House.

John Caldwell[4] was here to-day & says he does not care for a coat of arms for a book plate. The Coats of his people were without arms, he says, and what he wants is something [p. 3][5] of yours especially designed for a book plate. Make an etching, drawing, lithograph or painting. If you want a hint from him, make a corner of a library, in fact what you choose. Try and do this, please, as Caldwell is a very nice fellow and a great admirer of yours.

When you have anything you want to send over, give it to G. Lauser[6], but any thing large like the full lengths he has no room for, so you will have to go elsewhere.

I thought that I had sold your "Carmen[7]" again for £300 /- /- and that I would surprise you with a cheque, but it seems people buy pictures nowadays to suit the [p. 4] spaces or lights in their houses. Later. The Sarasate has arrived all right. Nine hundred pounds net, I believe is your price for it (£900 /- /-).

No reply to my last. I suppose like Pat and the whisky [sic] or grog rather, you'll come to that by and bye. An Irishman was promised some grog by his employer if he could get a piece of work done in a given time. He got it done. He also got the grog. After taking a swallow of it, Pat turned and asked "did you put the whiskey or the wather [sic] in first"? "The whiskey of course". Pat tasted it again and "M'n'yum, nyum, maybe I'll come to the whiskey by and bye." Business is as dull as it can well be owing to the [p. 5] election[8] business here.

Enclosed please find the memorandum of Riordan[9] I spoke to you about and which you promised to reply to, to the best of your ability. It is an important work and Riordan is a good fellow so give him your kind consideration, and amiable attention. In short, answer his questions as best you can or will.

Your poor old ex-friend is gone - Du Maurier[10]. So we go. Look out for J. McN. as I told you. None of that quasi rivalry of Succhi[11] in the middle of the day, and smoke fewer cigarettes and dont drink such strong coffee. Wasn't it curious [p. 6] me having been so ill going to and coming from France? What a delightful companion for a sound light sleeper like you! Better luck next time.

Let me hear from you.

With best regards to the ladies, brother-in-law Whibly[12] [sic], Pennell[13] &c. I am, as ever

Sincerely Yours,

E. G. Kennedy.

How about that picture by Boxall[14]?

I let a drop of ink fall on Riordan's letter. Please excuse.

This document is protected by copyright.


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

2.  Thompson
David Croal Thomson (1855-1930), art dealer [more].

3.  Sarasate
Arrangement in Black: Portrait of Señor Pablo de Sarasate (YMSM 315).

4.  John Caldwell
John Caldwell, Board Chairman, Carnegie Art Galleries [more].

5.  [p. 3]
The address is printed at the top of pp. 1, 3 and 5.

6.  G. Lauser
Gustave Lauser (b. ca 1841), London print-seller [more].

7.  Carmen
Crimson note: Carmen (YMSM 441).

8.  election
Grover Cleveland was President until 3 March 1897, and was succeeded by William McKinley.

9.  Riordan
Roger Riordan (1848-1904), writer and etcher [more].

10.  Du Maurier
George Louis Palmella Busson Du Maurier (1834-1896), author and caricaturist [more].

11.  succhi
It., juice. Perhaps Kennedy means that JW was mixing his drinks, or drinking too much at lunch time.

12.  Whibly
Charles Whibley (1859-1930), writer and journalist [more].

13.  Pennell
Joseph Pennell (1860-1926), printer and illustrator, JW's biographer [more].

14.  Boxall
W. Boxall, Portrait of J. Whistler (z76). William Boxall (1800-1879), portrait painter, Director of the National Gallery [more], had been an old friend of the Whistler family. The portrait was owned for many years by William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more]. The brothers may have considered selling it (Willie was chronically hard-up). Twice it was sent to Stephen Richards, for cleaning and for varnishing (see JW to Richards, 4 May 1893, #10718, and se also #08113). JW appears to have negotiated with his brother for possession of it (JW to D. D. Haden, #13491). JW later sent it to New York where Kennedy was planning to exhibit it (see Kennedy to JW, 22 November 1898, #07302). Eventually it came into JW's possession and passed from his estate to the University of Glasgow.