The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 12215
Date: 28 July [1870][1]
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[2]
Place: London
Recipient: James Anderson Rose[3]
Place: [London]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 21
Document Type: ALS


2 Lindsay Houses Chelsea

July 28th

My dear Mr Rose

A Studio being the all important consideration now for my Son[5], I hesitate not to unite in his request that you will without delay attend to the necessary preliminaries in the business point for secure the place - Merton Villa[6] - he thinks the terms ought to be at less price than offered him - in the present uncertain state of the effects of War - & he begs you to carry out his ideas about buying it, and if you cannot do that, he hopes you may take it for him on Lease at an ann[ua]l rent of less than £130 - [p. 2] I have just come from the Studio & the concluding advice is, that it will be more prudent for my Son, if you will try to bring the Agent to his terms, to rent Merton Villa he having already obtained consent for building a Studio on the acre & half ground - offer £100 rent a year, upon seven, fourteen or 21 years, at the expiration of the 7 &c, for him to renew or not as he may find best. It is presumed the Tenant who has occupied the house 21 years could not have done so except it were not properly drained, Of course, repairs necessary such as the fence they must have done before terms are concluded. Jemie says 'all the Studios[7] now being built where he had hoped to have one, are totally wrong.' he must therefore have one & soon as possible, built according to his own views. he hopes a favorable response from you soon. & unites his best regards with mine.

Believe me dear Mr Rose
Truly your friend

Anna M Whistler

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1.  28 July [1870]
Dated from JW's letters to John Anderson Rose, 30 June 1870, #12219, 17 July [1870], #11969, and 23 July [1870], #10728.

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

3.  James Anderson Rose
James Anderson Rose (1819-1890), solicitor [more].

4.  '1870
Written in another hand.

5.  Son
James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), artist [more].

6.  Merton Villa
Merton Villa, was at 278a, King's Road, Chelsea; see JW to J. A. Rose, #11969. It appears that he planned to build a studio in its extensive grounds. However, negotiations to rent the house were unsuccessful and JW remained at Lindsey Row until June 1878. JW made an etching of the house, Merton Villa, Chelsea (K.277), in 1887. In 1870, Merton Villa was the residence of John Fielder, ale & porter merchant, and Abraham Lewis; see PO Directory, 1870, p. 381.

7.  Studios
The 'studio house' was a growing phenomenon in London architecture of the 1870s. It reflected new wealth and position among an expanding group of artists. On 23 October 1877 JW signed an agreement with the Metropolitan Board of Works to build a studio house on a double plot of land in No. 35 Tite Street for a ground rent of £29 a year. 'The 'White House' as it was called was designed by Edward William Godwin (1833-1886), architect and designer [more], the first husband of JW's wife, Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more]. Unfortunately, the house did not remain under JW's possession for a long time. In May 1879 JW was declared bankrupt, and bailiffs took possession of the house. See Scott Baxter, Edward William Godwin and the White House, Thesis (B.A.) for the Mackintosh School of Architecture, University of Glasgow, 1993.