The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: decoration, house
Record 11 of 26

System Number: 12049
Date: 16 October 1878[1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Benjamin Ebenezer Nightingale[2]
Place: London
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC
Document Type: MsDc

The Bankruptcy Act 1869
In the London Bankruptcy Court

In the Matter of a Debtor Summons issued at the instance of Benjamin Ebenezer Nightingale of Albert Works Albert Embankment Lambeth in the County of Surrey against James Abbott McNeill Whistler of Tite Street Chelsea in the County of Middlesex


I James Abbott McNeill Whistler of the White house Tite Street Chelsea in the County of Middlesex Painter the above named alleged Debtor make oath and say

1. That on the ninth day of in the month of September last I was served with the Debtor Summons hereto annexed marked 'A'.

2. That in the month of November 1877 I entered into an Agreement with the above named Benjamin Ebenezer Nightingale that he should execute certain Works for me at Tite Street Chelsea in the County of Middlesex aforesaid which work was that he should build the House now known as the White House Tite Street aforesaid at and for the Price or Sum of One thousand nine hundred and ten Pounds.

3. The said Nightingale did build such House and I have paid the full sum of £1910: as agreed by the said Contract. -

4[.] That in addition to the aforesaid Contract certain other Work was required to be done to the House for which no Contract was made - I have paid the said Benjamin Ebenezer Nightingale (p. 2) in respect of such extra Work the sum of £300. I am advised and verily believe that a great portion of such extra & other work has been improperly executed and that Materials of inferior quality hasve been used therein - I am further advised and verily believe that the aforesaid Sum of £300. which I had so paid to the said B— Benjamin Ebenezer Nightingale is sufficient to satisfy his Claim and for that reason I say that I am not indebted to him in any Sum which would entitle him to proceed in Bankruptcy against me.

5[.] That I submit to this Honorable Court that as it is my desire and intention to have full particulars of the Claim of the said Nightingale against me delivered to me and to have such the work therein alleged to have been done properly measured and valued by competent Persons and if necessary Arbitrated upon - I submit that the course the said Nightingale has adopted in issuing this Summons is unjustifiable is for annoyance and to increase expense and that the same said Summons should be dismissed with Costs

Sworn at the Bankruptcy Affidavit Office in the city of London this 16th day of October 1878 }

J A McNeill Whistler

Before me
Thos B Smith[3]
Officer appointed to administer oaths in Bankruptcy

Filed on behalf of J A McNeill Whistler
the applicant

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  16 October 1878
Although this document was processed on 31 October 1878, the sheet was signed and filed on the 16 October. At foot of page one is written 'T. S. 16 Octr 1878'. See also #12048.

2.  Benjamin Ebenezer Nightingale
Benjamin Ebenezer Nightingale (b. 1838), builder [more]. This document concerns JW's dispute with Nightingale over the construction cost of the White House, his studio house at Tite St. The 'other work' was the architectural decoration to the exterior elevation insisted upon by London Metropolitan Board of Works before they would grant the ground lease. JW, already hard-pressed financially, was put under acute pressure by the cost of these additions (see his correspondence with E. W. Godwin, #08736, #01748). However, Nightingale still demanded to be paid (see G. & W. Webb to JW, #08735).

3.  Thos Smith
Thomas Smith, clerk to B. E. Nightingale.