The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 11514
Date: [3 April 1896/1903][1]
Author: Edward Guthrie Kennedy[2]
Place: [New York]
Recipient: [none]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection
Document Type: TNc

This letter - a pathetic one - supposes a recovery which never took place, for - as a later letter from him to me at Stuttgart reports, - the poor woman[3] died in the late Spring.

A great mystery was made in regard to the cause of death, which was cancer.

Whistler and his wife seemed to hit it off quite well.

The "drawing" is a lithograph of Mrs. Whistler in bed[4], then vastly reduced physically from illness, as[5] she was rather stout, and tall, and she is[6] looking pathetically at the spectator. Whistler's inscription is "To our dear friend Kennedy, O.K." He always spoke, and also wrote in the plural, of his wife as "We," "us," "our" etc.

"The Fire Wheel"[7] is now the property of Arthur Studd[8], whom Whistler used to call "Peter." I do not know for what reason.

Mrs. Pennell[9] took it this name[10] in good faith, as she addressed an invitation to "Peter Studd, Esq." which caused much amusement.

Whistler speaks of "other things overlooking the river."

This series of lithographs, perhaps the loveliest he ever did, consists of Little London, Little Waterloo, Savoy Pigeons, The River[11], etc. and was done under circumstances of particular distress, as this letter and others show.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [3 April 1896/1903]
This is a commentary on Whistler's letter, [25 March 1896], #09724, to which Kennedy replied on 3 April 1896, #07277. However, Kennedy's comments may have been written years later, when he collated the correspondence.

2.  Edward Guthrie Kennedy
Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932), dealer with H. Wunderlich and Co., New York [more].

3.  the poor woman
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].

4.  lithograph of Mrs. Whistler in bed
The Siesta (C.159).

5.  as

6.  she is

7.  The Fire Wheel
Nocturne: Black and Gold - The Fire Wheel (YMSM 169).

8.  Arthur Studd
Arthur ('Peter') Haythorne Studd (1863-1919), painter and collector [more].

9.  Mrs. Pennell
Elizabeth Robins Pennell (1855-1936), née Robins, JW's biographer [more].

10.  this name

11.  Little London, Little Waterloo, Savoy Pigeons, The River
Little London (C.158), Evening, Little Waterloo Bridge (C.155), Savoy Pigeons (C.154) and The Thames (C.161) were done from the Savoy Hotel in 1896.