The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 11444
Date: 24 January 1875
Author: JW
Place: Liverpool
Recipient: Edward Clifton Griffith[1]
Place: London
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 1/40/2
Document Type: ALSc



Speke Hall[3] - near Liverpool

Jany. 24th. 1875 -

Dear Sir. -

Your memory plays you, I fear, a treacherous trick, or you would not forget that my intention to redecorate the Gallery[4] and paint it[5] as I pleased was openly expressed to your Agent and known to yourself when I took it; - that you were continually present during the alterations; - that, in company with my friend Mr Morris[6], I met you myself in the Gallery while the work was proceeding; (with Fox[7] and his paint pots all about the place;) - [p. 2] and that you never made the faintest objection whatever, nor in any way allowed me to suppose that I was at all running the risk with which you now threaten me! -

On the contrary [you] conversed pleasantly, after your manner, about the matter and took the pains to point out where you thought one of my new panels was, according to your fresh eye, a little out of the Square, and might be bettered - "that you were not sure whether you appreciated the new colors, but would wait until the whole was complete..." -

In the face of these facts I am afraid your Solicitor would have but a mild opinion of your "case"[8] -

However far be it from me to offer advice - Meanwhile I refer you, for all answer, to my letter[9] of the 22nd -., only adding that if Fox and his men are opposed in [sic] putting up the cloth, as, I gather, from Mr White's letter[10] to me, they have been, the delay is of your making, and I will not be at the expense of their lost time. -

Yours truly

J. A. McN. Whistler

E. Clifton Griffiths Esq

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1.  Edward Clifton Griffiths
Capt. Edward Clifton Griffith, gallery landlord [more].

2.  '27'
Written in another hand at top right-hand corner of p. 1.

3.  Speke Hall
JW stayed at the home of Frederick Richards Leyland (1832-1892), ship-owner and art collector [more] and his family, from January to March 1875.

4.  Gallery
The venue for Mr Whistler's Exhibition, Flemish Gallery, Pall Mall, London, 1874. JW took the gallery for a year at an annual rent of £315.

5.  paint it
JW decorated the gallery in primrose, pink-grey and brown distemper for his exhibition. However, Griffiths requested that the gallery should be returned to its original state and hung with maroon cloth. See statement of proof, #12138.

6.  Mr Morris
Probably Philip Richard Morris (1833 or 1836-1902), painter [more].

7.  Fox
Frederick Fox, frame-maker and decorator [more].

8.  case
Griffiths had just threatened legal proceedings against JW (see E. C. Griffiths to JW, #12145).

9.  letter
See JW to E. C. Griffiths, #11442.

10.  Mr White's letter
Edward Fox White (b. 1825 or 1826), art dealer [more]. JW is being a little disingenuous here. In fact, White told him that the cloth could not be refitted 'till the painting & stencilling - and repairs to roof & walls & c & c & c are done'. He also seems to have muddled the names of his own decorator Frederick Fox (see note above), with that of an unidentified Mr Ford, possibly a servant or decorator for E. F. White, referred to in White's letter (see E. F.White to JW, #11441).