The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 11965
Date: 22 October 1865
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[1]
Place: London
Recipient: Margaret Getfield Hill[2]
Place: Scarsdale, CT
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 34/45-46
Document Type: MsLS

7 Lindsey Row
Old Chelsea London

October -
22nd 1865

My dear Margaret -

I can only enclose in one to Kate[3] a small note in return for your interesting details of Scarsdale, by Miss Laing[4], but this will prepare you for the silence which I must submit to while under the care of an oculist, I start for Berlin on the 24th My own dear Willy[5] will be my escort! but cannot remain with me. You will be surprised to hear of his arrival in England he and Jemmie[6] after ten years separation have been almost inseparable for both Debo[7] and myself have been in such feeble health we could not bear the great heat of London during the [p. 2] summer. She was not about when Miss Laing called expecting to find us there. The cook from 62 Sloane St brought me your letter with the cards of Mrs & Miss L - & their disappointment but they could not come this much further. Oh how much I should have enjoyed talking with her of you all but I was packed up for Malvern[8] & I suppose they left London for the continent the next day - you seem not to have heard what an invalid I have been. I spent the sumer of 64 at German Springs - Last winter at Torquay & this year have gone from place to place, always relapsing on my return to Chelsea, this air so debilitates, or you should have [p. 3] had many letters from your old cronie. Your letter is [two illegible words] score of any dictated by me. Your account of each & all takes me back into your circle where I beg you will circulate my love. I had hoped to have met dear Cath[9] in Mary's[10] home once more but the time for her return to New York came while I was at Malvern, or I [would] have sent you a photograph of Jemmy[11], but I hope to take you one & also photographs of some of his paintings[12] - He is now painting on the sea coast of France[13] in good health & spirits. The usual rain & fog has set in here & I rejoice he is under brighter skies. Thanks to you for the photograph of [p. 4] the church[14] & the [illegible word] of your dear pastor[15]. The church journal has been read to me. Among the favored I am most grateful for [all?] letters received from my suffering relatives at the south[16]. The last from Lizzies Duclos[17] in New York tells me she has now her mother & revered aunt in her home. I am sure dear Margaret when you go to town you will go to see those whom you knew & liked at our cottage in the happy past - I have the greatest comfort in the loving attention of Mary Rodewald, her children, & good husband[18]. In my absence you may probably hear of me through her letters to Julia[19]. When I can write it will be among my greatest indulgences next to reading the word of God - Pray for me that a blessing may attend the means to restore the sight of your loving friend

A. M. Whistler

M. G. Hill
New York

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1.  Anna Matilda Whistler
Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881), née McNeill, JW's mother [more].

2.  Margaret Hill
Margaret Getfield Hill (1802-1881), a friend of AMW, of Scarsdale, NY [more].

3.  Kate
Catherine ('Kate') Jane Palmer (ca 1812 - d.1877), née McNeill, AMW's sister [more].

4.  Miss Laing
Miss Laing, an acquaintance of AMW.

5.  Willy
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more].

6.  Jemmie
James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), artist [more]; AMW was staying in his house.

7.  Debo
Deborah ('Debo' or 'Sis') Delano Haden (1825-1908), née Whistler, JW's half-sister [more].

8.  Malvern
AMW visited the Malvern Baths, in Worcester, England. The former pump room and baths in Worcester Road were designed by Samuel and John Deykes in 1819 and opened in 1823. In 1845, Dr James Wilson opened a hydropathic establishment in Park Road which he called Priessnitz House in honour of the German physician whose enthusiasm for cold baths left its mark on British bathroom habits for the next one hundred years. The severity of the treatment, which included a shower of ice-cold water and being wrapped up in cold wet blankets, did not seem to deter patients, including Charles Darwin and Lord Lytton. AMW revisited the baths in 1870; see AMW to James H. Gamble, 7/10 September 1870, #06545.

9.  Cath
Catherine Julia Cammann, a relation of Dr G. P. Cammann [more]; she spent a year in London; see AMW to James H. Gamble, 7 June 1864, #06524.

10.  Mary's
Mary Isabella Rodewald (1823-1867), née McNeill, JW's cousin, wife of J. F. Rodewald [more].

11.  a photograph of Jemmy
There are two surviving photographs of JW taken in the mid-1860s, one in the Whistler Collection, Glasgow University Library, and another one in the Pennell-Whistler Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

12.  photographs of some of his paintings
There are no surviving photographs of JW's paintings from this date. JW was having his work photographed from around 1869.

13.  sea coast of France
In October 1865, JW joined Joanna Hiffernan (b. c. 1843), his model and mistress, and Jean Desire Gustave Courbet (1819-1877), painter, at Trouville. He painted several sea-scapes; Harmony in Blue and Silver: Trouville (YMSM 64), Sea and Rain (YMSM 65), Blue and Silver: Trouville (YMSM 66), Crepuscule in Opal: Trouville (YMSM 67), The Sea (YMSM 69), Trouville (YMSM 70). (See Robin Spencer, Whistler, A Retrospective, New York, 1989, p. 12, and Richard Dorment and Margaret F. MacDonald, James McNeill Whistler, London, 1995, pp. 111-14.

14.  church
St James the Less, church at Scarsdale, NY, consecrated in June 1851; see AMW to Margaret G. Hill, 24 December 1852, #07639.

15.  pastor
Rev. William Whittinghame Olssen (1827-1911), Rector at Scarsdale, NY [more].

16.  relatives at the south
AMW had relatives in Georgia, Florida, Charleston and Camden, SC; see AMW to JW, 15 December 1856, #06477, and 11 July 1876, #06559, and AMW to Deborah Delano Haden 4 August 1863, #06521.

17.  Lizzies Duclos
Elizabeth Duclos, née Corbett, wife of P. Duclos; she was the daughter of Mary Corbett, AMW's cousin.

18.  her children, & good husband
Alice Rodewald (1854-1923), Frederick Rodewald (b. 1864) and Edith Rodewald (b. 1857), children of M. I. and Johann Frederick Rodewald (1808-1886), banker.

19.  Julia
Julia Catherine Rodewald (1825-1897), née McNeill, JW's cousin, wife of A. Rodewald, Sr [more].

20.  Miss
'illegible ... York' is cross-written over the main text in another hand.