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

the on-line edition

System Number: 09196
Date: [1 January 1879][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: George Aloysius Lucas[2]
Place: Paris
Repository: Baltimore Museum of Art, MD
Call Number: 16 folder, W-Lucas file
Document Type: ALS[3]


My Dear Lucas -

I write to ask you to do me a great favor - Though a small thing to do - I want you [to] receive some letters[4] that will be addressed to a young lady - Miss Franklin[5], and then put them in the post under an envelope to my address - Kindly help me in this matter and you will greatly oblige the young lady - Do write [p. 2] one line tomorrow morning so that I may have your answer by return - You see I have but five minutes - and you will forgive - but I will write[6] immediately on receipt of your letter -

Ever affectly Yrs

J. A. McN. Whistler

This document is protected by copyright.


'Whistler Jany 1879'

Mons. George Lucas
21. Rue de l'arc de Triomphe
Barrière de l'Etoile
[Postmark:] CHARING CROSS/ X /JA 1/ 79

[p. 2] 74 & 75 PICCADILLY[7]


1.  [1 January 1879]
Date from postmark and a note on the envelope by Lucas, and confirmed by the entry in Lucas's diary for 2 January 1879: 'Rec'd letter from Whistler enclosing one which I remailed for London, but too late for night train.' (Randall, Lillian, ed., George A. Lucas: An American Art Agent in Paris, 1857-1909, Princeton, 1979, p. 468).

2.   George Aloysius Lucas
George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909), art dealer in Paris [more].

3.  ALS
Published in Mahey, John A., 'The Letters of James McNeill Whistler to George A. Lucas,' Art Bulletin, XLIX, September 1967, pp. 247-57, Letter XII, with minor mistakes and altered punctuation. The original letter has an embossed printed heading.

4.  receive some letters
Lucas's diary records on 12 January 1879 : 'Rec'd letter from Whistler enclosing one to return' and on 14 January 1879: 'Mailed letter rec'd today (Whistler affair) Mailed to Whistler with envelope.' (Randall, Lillian, ed., George A. Lucas: An American Art Agent in Paris, 1857-1909, Princeton, 1979, p. 468). By January 1879, JW was in serious financial trouble in the aftermath of his libel suit against John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more]. The hearing had taken place on 25-26 November 1878 and although JW won the case, he was awarded only derisory damages of a farthing: he had to pay his own costs. As a result, he spent the early months of 1879 desperately staving off his creditors until a petition was filed for his bankruptcy on 9 May 1879 (see petition for bankruptcy proceedings, #08895). Maud Franklin, on the other hand, was pregnant; Maud McNeill Whistler Franklin (b. 1879), daughter of JW and Maud Franklin [more], was born in February 1879. In the circumstances, JW behaved disgracefully, leaving her in a London hotel and pretending to her (with the collusion of Lucas) that he was in Paris.

5.  Miss Franklin
Mary Maud Franklin (1857- ca 1941), JW's model and mistress [more].

6.  74 & 75 PICCADILLY
This is a fragment of a false stationery seal on the envelope flap.

7.  2
Written in another hand.

8.  write
JW wrote to G. A. Lucas again a few days later (see #09197). On 8 January 1879 Lucas recorded in his diary : 'Rec'd letter from Whistler which ans'd.' (Randall, Lillian, ed., George A. Lucas: An American Art Agent in Paris, 1857-1909, Princeton, 1979, p. 468).