The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Record 6 of 27

System Number: 01942
Date: [23/30 July 1868][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Wrentmore & Son[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler H43
Document Type: ALdS

Sir -

I have at length leisure to acknowledge the receipt of your letter[3] on behalf of your client Mr Haden -

From it as from your former ones I have derived satisfaction. I should be much obliged if you would send me another copy of Mr Haden's[4] lithographed Certificate[5] of Character as the one already in my posession [sic] is rather worn with much exhibition -

Your obt Sert -

J A McN W.

Messrs. Wrentmore & Son

'Whistler re Haden'[6]

[p. 2] You have missed the point of my letter note[7] - The question is not as to whether Legros[8] got a thrashing[9], that fact [as in?] is undoubted and by no one - especially as in your own case you have taken so much pains to make it public! -

The question is not as to the truth of the assertions made in Legros letter[10] - no one doubts the main fact that Legros got a thrashing - he has like yourself in your own case taken tooso much pains to make it public! - I say that you wrote coocked [sic] up that letter for him - that is all - whether what was in it was true or false has nothing to do with it -

This then is what I make known to all -

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [23/30 July 1868]
In reply to Wrentmore & Son to JW, 16 July 1868, #07137. On the fair copy of this letter, which was evidently written some days after receiving the letter from Wrentmore, JW has written the date as 'Thursday,' which may be 23 or 30 July.

2.  Wrentmore & Son
Solicitors for F. S. Haden (see note below).

3.  letter
See Wrentmore & Son to JW, #07137 in response to JW's letter, #01939.

4.  Mr Haden's
Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more]. 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 on a trip to Paris, allegedly in a brothel. Haden arranged for Traer's burial, with what JW and his brother William regarded as unseemly haste. Haden later claimed that in the resulting confrontation, JW had pushed him through a plate glass window. Both JW and Haden were members of the Burlington Club and in the aftermath of the Traer affair, Haden campaigned for JW to be excluded from the club, having brought to its attention several alleged previous incidents of assault involving JW (JW to L. Huth, #02240). JW was expelled at a general meeting of the Club on 13 December (see JW to W. Boxall, #00498). On 4 February 1868, in a new development, JW received a letter from Wrentmore & Son (#11981). It requested that he state the full details and context regarding 'certain reflections which you are reported to have made on the character and conduct of our Client Mr. Francis Seymour Haden.' JW sought out the advice of James Anderson Rose (1819-1890), solicitor [more]. However, the sparring between the two sides continued and on 14 July, JW wrote to Haden (#01939) threatening to 'make known every where' the 'facts' of the case. Wrentmore & Son responded with a claim that JW's letter threatened 'the publication of a Libel' (see #07137).

5.  Certificate
Lithography was a cheap mass method of reproduction used in advertising. This probably underlies JW's allusion to Wrentmore and Haden's efforts to counter his public denouncement of Haden's reputation. At the centre of JW's attitude towards F. S. Haden throughout the Burlington Club affair was his belief that Haden had betrayed him by using private opinions expressed by JW at the Haden dining table as evidence in the proceedings to expel JW from the Club. JW wrote to Haden, on 14 July, #01939, threatening to make what he believed were the 'facts [...] known every where - not only in London but in Paris.'

6.  'Whistler re Haden'
Added in another hand, perhaps that of Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more], in right margin.

7.  note
See JW to Wrentmore & Son, #01939.

8.  Legros
Alphonse Legros (1837-1911), painter, etcher and art teacher [more].

9.  thrashing
JW first met Legros in Paris during the late 1850s and together with Ignace-Henri-Jean-Théodore Fantin-Latour (1836-1904), artist [more], they formed the Societé des Trois. However by April 1867, their friendship was over after a row which came to blows. JW's friends tried to intervene (see JW to L. Ionides, #11312) but the two men were never reconciled. The reasons for their quarrel are unclear but they seem to have had a protracted dispute about money dating to 1864 (see Ionides, Memories, 1996 edtn., p. 74 and JW to A. Legros, #02505) and about Legros' marriage during the same period. See also JW to D. G. Rossetti, #05242.

10.  Legros letter
Perhaps A. Legros to F. S. Haden, #12943.