The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: quarrel (Haden)
Record 36 of 142

System Number: 12957
Date: 14 June [1867][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Rodolph Nicholson Wornum[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Call Number: National Art Library, PC12/6 MSL/1952/1353/2/5/4
Document Type: ALS[3]


[p. 2] 2 Lindsey Row -


June 14

Sir -

I am more and more surprised by these communications[4] I continue to receive from you! - and more and more have a difficulty in answering them -

I was prepared, in courtesy to listen to any complaint that might be put before a general meeting of the Club[5], according to the rule[6] to which my notice was directed, - but meanwhile [p. 3] can have nothing to say to further bulletins on my personal affairs[7]. -

I cannot but feel that were I to speak with more irritation at such a moment, there are many who would think me justified; for certainly a body of gentlemen kept constantly informed on the details of my private life is a phenomenon, in the circles of open intercourse to which I have been used! -

Some errors in the course pursued by the Gentlemen of the Committee [p. 4] towards me, will, I must believe, be eventually much regretted by them - Surely the mention of money[8] in their first communication, must be classed, for their sakes, purely as an error! -

I have the honor to be Sir
Your obedient Servant

J. A. M. Whistler

R. N. Wornum Esqr
Hon. Sec. Burlington Club -

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  14 June [1867]
Year date from recipient and reference to the Burlington Fine Arts Club dispute.

2.  Rodolph Nicholson Wornum
Ralph Nicholson Wornum (1812-1877), history painter [more].

3.  ALS
See also draft version of this letter, #00439.

4.  communications
See R. N. Wornum to JW, #00437, #10442.

5.  Club
A reference to the Burlington Fine Arts Club, founded early in 1866. It was located at 177, Piccadilly. JW was proposed as a member on 22 February 1867 (see William Boxall (1800-1879), portrait painter, Director of the National Gallery [more], Louis Huth (1821-1905), collector [more], and the Vittorio Emanuelle Taparelli (1816-1890), Marquis D'Azeglio, Sardinian Ambassador and collector [more], proposers, #11957).

6.  rule
A reference to Rule 27 of the Rules and Regulations of the Club. JW received a letter from Wornum on 11 June (#10442) requesting his withdrawal from the Club on the threat of expulsion after Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more], brought an allegation of assault against him before the Club committee (see note below). Wornum quoted Rule 27 in his letter: "A special general meeting may be called to consider the Expediency of expelling any member from the Club. Any one who may be expelled forfeits all claim to the property of the Club. These special general meetings to consist of not less than fifteen members"

7.  personal affairs
JW's personal affairs were in some disarray. In April 1867, JW quarrelled with Haden over his treatment of James Reeves Traer (ca 1834 - d.1867), partner in F. S. Haden's medical practice [more]. Traer died suddenly on 23 April of alcohol related causes, during a trip to Paris. Haden arranged for Traer's burial with what JW and his brother William regarded as unseemly haste. On 26 April a violent row blew up between the brothers-in-law in a Paris café and Haden fell (or was allegedly pushed by JW) through a plate glass window. Both JW and Haden were members of the Burlington Club. In the aftermath of the Traer affair Haden campaigned for JW to be excluded, having brought to the Club's attention several alleged previous incidents of assault (JW to L. Huth, #02240, JW to W. Boxall, #00498) as the result of which JW was asked to resign on the threat of expulsion (#10442). He replied the same day, protesting that the incident with Haden was a 'personal affair unconnected with the club' and demanding a court of enquiry into the allegations (JW to R. N. Wornum, #00436).

8.  money
The Committee offered to return JW his entrance fee and year's subscription if he withdrew from the Club.