The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 08830
Date: [21 August 1888][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: Charles James Whistler Hanson[2]
Place: London
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 1/44/3 and 15
Document Type: ALS[3]

You may perhaps be too dull to understand how greatly you have angered me by your impardonable meddling with my matters in print, but you can hardly be fool enough to fancy that I should be at all taken in by your pretended surprise, or that I should not know that you had taken the occasion of your carrying him the etching, to beg Mr Morley[4] to add to the list of names when reproducing the article in the Budget[5] -

It is inconceivable that you should permit [p. 2] yourself such mad persistence - and you have no excuse for you had seen how vexed I was at the mere possibility of Morleys extending his list when you first reported to me your conversation with him in the church -

[p. 3] I cannot tell you how angry all this interference has made me ! - What could possess you to take upon yourself to order this or that - ! You ought to now even if you had not been told expressly that Miss Philip[6] is the one to go to in our absence for all orders - In all matters she is the only one to give orders and from whom you would receive your directions -

Now this settles the matter ! - and you will not move into Tower House[7] at all - -

Miss Philip will see to the place until [p. 4] our return - and meanwhile if you cannot stay any longer in Selwood Terrace, you will take some little room close by and pay for it as you paid your Mommie[8] -

It is intolerable and absurd that there should have been all this wandering about and indiscreet meddling which however well meant for your sake is quite unasked for and inexcusable -

As to the Vale, let the young men[9] call upon George Lewis[10] or be returned to him through Rid[e]out[11] -

As to putting the place in repair, I see no reason for anything of the kind - and certainly do not propose to become entangled in builders expenses - The house is in repair - if there be anything really neccessary [sic], I must know what is required - certainly I do not propose [p. 5] that you should go about giving orders at your own indiscreet discretion -

Tell Mr Webb[12] the builder who works for me to look over the place and see what is absolutely necessary for this letting of the house - (perhaps the roof, and the front?) and let me have an estimate and then I will see. Meanwhile the gentlemen must satisfy Mr Lewis that it is all right -

Keep back the letters until further orders !

J. McN. Whistler

Tell William[13] this - that he had better prepare for the visit of the American from Mr Buck[14] - and that he had better put by the very best proofs of the rare proofs - (such as "The Barrow[15]" - The "Chelsea bird cage[16]" etc - etc) so that they be not chosen by the buyer [p. 5] about whom I know nothing - and for whom one proof is as good as another -

This document is protected by copyright.


Chs. Hanson
The Tower House
28 Tite Street
care of Mr Whistler
[postmarks x 2] PARIS / 8E / 21 / AOUT / 88
[postmark on verso:] LONDON SW / L S / AU 22 / 88

[on verso, pencil jottings in Hanson's hand of a map showing Southampton Row and 'Guilford']


1.  [21 August 1888]
Dated from the postmark.

2.  Charles James Whistler Hanson
Charles James Whistler Hanson (1870-1935), engineer, son of JW and Louisa Fanny Hanson [more].

3.  ALS
The writing on p. 2 fills only the top half of the page; this may suggest that pp. 3-5 were written or sent separately. Part of the letter (on pp. 4-5) was quoted in an article on 'Whistler and his Secretary' in the Times Telegraph, 4 December 1923.

4.  Mr. Morley
Charles Morley (1853-1916), journalist at the Pall Mall Gazette [more].

5.  Budget
That is, the Pall Mall Budget, a weekly digest of the Pall Mall Gazette.

6.  Miss Philip
Probably Ethel Whibley (1861-1920), née Philip, JW's sister-in-law [more].

7.  Tower House
Tower House, No. 28 (now) Tite Street, Chelsea, designed by Edward William Godwin (1833-1886), architect and designer [more]. The Whistlers moved there in 1888, after their marriage.

8.  Mommie
Louisa Fanny Hanson (b. 1849), parlour-maid and mother of JW's son Charles J. W. Hanson [more].

9.  young men
Charles de Sousy Ricketts (1866-1931), painter and designer [more], and Charles Hazlewood Shannon (1863-1937), painter and lithographer [more], who took over the lease from JW on No. 2, The Vale, during the summer of 1888, and there established the Vale Press. No. 2, The Vale, Kings Road, Chelsea, by Paulton Square, was called 'The Pink Palace' by JW; Mary Maud Franklin (1857- ca 1941), JW's model and mistress [more], lived there with JW from 1885-1888.

10.  George Lewis
Sir George Henry Lewis (1833-1911), society lawyer [more].

11.  Rid[e]out
Rideout, London estate agent.

12.  Mr. Webb
Webb, possibly George or William Webb, lawyers.

13.  William
William Bell, JW's secretary [more].

14.  Mr. Buck
J. H. Buck, employee of the Goupil Gallery, London.

15.  The Barrow
The Barrow, Brussels (K.357).

16.  Chelsea bird cage
Bird-Cages, Chelsea (K.276).

17.  Angleterre
'Angleterre' and 'care of Mr Whistler' are double underlined.