The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 09605
Date: [September 1874/March 1875?][1]
Author: JW
Place: Liverpool[2]
Recipient: James Alfred Chapman[3]
Place: [Liverpool]
Repository: John Rylands Library, University Library of Manchester, Manchester
Call Number: Special Collections Division, English Ms 362.372
Document Type: ALS

[monogram:] 'RRC'

Speke Hall -

Dear Jack -

Many thanks for your kind invitation - I shall be delighted to come if I can - You see I work until dark and then it is always a rush to get out of the Studio[4] and dress in time for dinner.

The other day was quite an extraordinary exception when no work was done - and so I took that only occasion to call on Miss Emmie[5] and yourself -

If I do not manage it this evening I shall hope [p. 2] to some day next week -

I marked on the wall the line to which the bottom of the frame should be raised by letting it rest on a couple of nails, so that the picture[6] would then be bent very much forward and could be seen distinctly even with the glass -

Goodbye - in great haste
Ever Yours

J A McN Whistler

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1.  [September 1874/March 1875?]
This letter, which immediately precedes #01634, probably dates from JW's extended visit to Speke Hall, which started in September 1874 (see A. M. Whistler to M. E. Eastwick, 8 September 1874, #11843, and JW to J. A. Rose, 4 March 1875, #11846; see Merrill, Linda, The Peacock Room. A Cultural Biography, New Haven and London, 1998, pp. 141, 365, n. 161). Indeed, 'Oct 1874' is written in an unidentified hand in pencil at the top of p. 1.

2.  Speke
JW was visiting Frederick Richards Leyland (1832-1892), ship-owner and art collector [more], and family, at Speke Hall near Liverpool.

3.  James Alfred Chapman
Alfred Chapman (1839-1917), engineer and collector [more].

4.  Studio
JW was commissioned to paint portraits of Frederick Richards Leyland (1832-1892), shipowner, his wife Frances, and their children Frederick Dawson, Fanny, Florence and Elinor. Only Arrangement in Black: Portrait of F. R. Leyland (YMSM 97) was completed at this point. JW was still at work on others, including Portrait of Miss Florence Leyland (YMSM 107) and Portrait of Miss Leyland (1) (YMSM 109).

5.  Miss Emmie
Possibly E. Chappell, unidentified.

6.  picture
Chapman acquired at least six Nocturnes between 1874 and 1878 (YMSM 100, 117, 120, 159-60, 174). He bought Nocturne: Blue and Gold - Southampton Water (YMSM 117), Nocturne: Battersea Reach (YMSM 160), and possibly Nocturne: Battersea (YMSM 120) in 1874 (see his letter of 22 June 1874, #11251). The painting in question was framed and glazed, and JW may have been concerned that it would act as a mirror if hung vertically.