The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 09197
Date: 7 January [1879][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: George Aloysius Lucas[2]
Place: Paris
Repository: Baltimore Museum of Art, MD
Call Number: 17 folder, W-Lucas file
Document Type: PLc[3]


Monday, January 7

Dear Lucas

I am in sore distress, for last week, on Monday I believe, I posted a letter[4] to you enclosing one addressed to Miss Franklin[5] which I begged you to post from Paris to London. (Not enclosed to me but naturally as it was, as if written in Paris.) I have today learned that no such no such letter has arrived here to its destination. Do please write a line at once par le courier de retour[6] and tell me if you did not receive my letter. I addressed it to

Mons. Lucas
21 Rue de l'Arc de Triomph
Barriere de l'Etoile

Meanwhile there will come by this same post a letter addressed[7] to you for Miss Franklin, which please send under cover to me here The White House, Chelsea Embankment, London.

I am sorry to give you all this trouble my dear Lucas, but pray help us through this petite affair[8] and all will come right.

I sent you also my pamphlet on

Whistler v. Ruskin[9]

Art and Art Critics

How do you like it.

With kindest regards to yourself and Madame[10]
Ever yours

J. A. McN. Whistler

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  7 January [1879]
Year dated from Lucas's diary entry, 8 January 1879: '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).

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

3.  PLc
Published in Mahey, John A., 'The Letters of James McNeill Whistler to George A. Lucas,' Art Bulletin, XLIX, September 1967, pp. 247-57, Letter XIII.

4.  letter
See JW to G. A. Lucas, #09196 and the entry in Lucas's diary, 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).

5.  Miss Franklin
JW had asked Lucas to send his letters (untraced) from Paris to Mary Maud Franklin (1857- ca 1941), JW's model and mistress [more] in London. In 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. Their daughter, Maud McNeill Whistler Franklin, was born in February 1879. In the circumstances, JW behaved disgracefully, leaving Maud Franklin in a London hotel and pretending to her (with the collusion of Lucas) that he was in Paris.

6.  courier de retour
Fr., return of post.

7.  letter addressed
See Randall, Lillian, ed., George A. Lucas: An American Art Agent in Paris, 1857-1909, Princeton, 1979, p. 468, diary entry, 9 January 1879: 'Mailed by Eugene Whistler Franklin letter to him with envelope.' Eugene was probably Eugène José de Macedo-Carvalho (1854-1928), son of Octavie Josephine de Macedo-Carvalho [more].

8.  petite affair
Fr., little affair.

9.  Whistler v. Ruskin
Whistler, James McNeill, Whistler v. Ruskin: Art and Art Critics, London, 1878, JW's pamphlet published after the trial.

10.  Madame
Octavie Josephine de Macedo-Carvalho (1833-1909), née Marchand, probable mistress of George A. Lucas [more], who lived across the hall in the same apartment building as Lucas.