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

the on-line edition

System Number: 11857
Date: 9 January 1863
Author: C. W. Downes[1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: London
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 2/48/59
Document Type: ALS

29 Coles Hill Street
Eaton Square

J. Whistler Esq
62 Sloane Street[2]

9 Jany 1863

Dear Sir

Having examined the House[3] No. 7. Lindsey Row Chelsea I beg leave to report to you that I find the Roof over the front room and staircase were new a few years back and are in pretty good condition. The Roof over the back room is old and covered with tiles some of which are very decayed - and the filletting[4] is imperfect. The back parapet wall requires pointing and also the parapet wall round area at back of staircase and the Copings of these Walls and the back gutter requires cleaning out.

The slating to roof over Scullery requires repair and the eaves guttering to be made good[,] one piece being on the paving of yard.

This outside work is clearly the Landlord's[5] business to make good and you as a yearly Tenant would not be bound to do it - you should however have an engagement from him to keep the Roof sound and water tight. He should also engage to keep the drainage clear and in good condition. This I am told is good and effective and runs into the River. I am also told that these Houses never suffer from flooding by high tides.

Interior Back Attic - Put locks to Cupboard Doors
Front Room - Alter bolt to lock of Cupboard reversing it as it is the wrong way
Ease the sash fastening to windows.
Bells: there are no bell pulls from this floor - a pull with Bell should be provided at any rate from the front room. There is no ladder to get at the roof.

Repair - Front room - The top sashes require easing and also the Sash fastening[.] One pane of glass is cracked in Window. The grate requires a new back or the [extraction?] of fire made good. The back hearth is cracked. The door to room requires easing. The bell wires are broken

Back room - The Bell wires require to be renewed and the Bell for these two [p. 2] rooms which is hung on landing should be removed to the ground floor. The box staple to the lock of this door requires altering as the door cannot be locked or bolted. Locks are required to the Cupboard doors.

Ground Floor - A better latch is required to front entrance door and if a lock is not put on the key hole should be stopped up. The bottom of the door should be cut off and a stone or slate sill put in to stop the drift of rain into Passage and it would be well to have a weather board to this door. Four of the panels of this door being clear glass and having no shutter at night makes the House in my opinion insecure. 2 Squares of Glass in fanlight are cracked

Dining room - The pullies [sic] to windows are some of them worn out - all should be examined and made good. The sashes require easing as some will not move - and the sash fastening will not fasten. The shutters also require easing so that they may open and shut properly and the bars should be made to fit. 3 Squares of Glass in Windows are cracked. Make good the ceiling where papering has given way and whiten the ceiling. Make good the Bell wires - Is the painting of this Room finished? or have the Walls to be flatted[6]?

W.C. under stairs. Take out the 2 squares of plain glass over door and glaze with fluted or pound glass to stop sight from Landing by door of Drawing room. Glaze the opening in end next Passage and cut an opening in bottom rail of framing and fill in with perforated Zinc so that the current of air may be driven upwards through the hole hole in back wall to the outer air and not inwards to the House. Ease the door to Closet and put on bolt. Paper walls with a light paper to assist the light.

Cover the door at end of Passage with Cloth and put new latch to Door

Kitchen - Put the range in working order. Fix 4 shelves in Cupboards and locks to doors. 2 squares of Glass in window are cracked - Either shutters [p. 3] or bars should be provided for this window as it is quite unprotected at present. Rehang the hanging flap under window. Ease the doors to Kitchen and Pantry and make the locks work. Fix the shelf to Cupboard in Pantry and lock to door

Ease the back entrance door and repair the bolt

Lobby to Scullery. Ease outer door and make lock work and put 2 bolts to door. Scullery - Ease the Casements to Window and put 2 new bolts. Repair the pump and connect the Service to Water Butt with Main. Put in order the furnace to Copper. Ease the door to back Lobby[,] put lock to the other door and make the bolts act.

Basement - Make good the ceiling in Coal Cellar and the Chain and fastenings to Coal shoot [sic]. Put door to inner Cellar and fit up with deal shelves some wine bins therein.

Of this long list of trifling matters I dare say a good many will be done in the finishing of the repairs and I think it will be better for you to point out the different things you want done on the spot than to send a long list to the Landlord which might frighten him before he read it and lead him to reject your offer without reading it.

I think you should also have an assurance that he will remedy smoky chimneys if there are any.

I remain
Dear Sir
Yours truly

C.W. Downes

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  C.W. Downes
Charles Downes (b. ca 1822), architect, land and estate agent [more].

2.  House
JW lived at 7 Lindsey Row, Chelsea from March 1863 to c. January 1867. See letter from I. H. Kellogg to J. A. Rose, 20 March 1863, indicating repairs in progress, #11856.

3.  filletting
A narrow flat area of moulding, often between other mouldings, or part of a cornice.

4.  Landlords
Isaac Henry Keene, builder, landlord of 7 Lindsey Row [more] was also the landlord of No 2 Lindsey Row.

5.  62 Sloane St
Home of Deborah ('Debo' or 'Sis') Delano Haden (1825-1908), née Whistler, JW's half-sister [more] and Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more]; JW seems either to have been staying with them or using their address at this time. This address is actually written at the bottom of p. 1, in the middle of the letter.

6.  flatted
Painted with matt (not gloss) paint.