The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: society expulsion
Record 7 of 7

System Number: 02508
Date: [December 1867/January 1868][1]
Author: Baldwyn Leighton[2]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler L44
Document Type: ALS

[coat of arms:][3] OXFORD & CAMBRIDGE CLUB

52 Park St.
Gros[venor]: Sq:

Dear Whistler,

It was only last night that I heard from Chapman[4] how badly they treated you at the Burlington[5]. I believe from what I have heard from 2 or 3 members of the Club that their proceedings were as informal as they were unjust. - They seem too to have put off the business till they thought there were as few of the members as possible except of their own party in town, & then I understand with a very short (& probably E informal) notice, they [p. 2] proceed to discuss a grave question - I believe the terms of the notice were "that they were about to consider a question that the committee did not consider think themselves competent to deal with". wh. might suggest the purchase of a new carpet or an alteration in the premises.

It all comes of these cursed dilettante Clubs, of which thank Heaven I never was & never mean to be a member.

I had met Mr Rossetti[6] the night before dining at Miss Bromleys[7] [sic] & he spoke a good deal about it - I took the liberty of writing to him afterwards to [p. 3] say that I thought if he could succeed in getting the question adjourned, I could write to a friend of mine who knows d'Azeglio[8] very well & perhaps produce a diversion -

I had spoken to him before on the subject & I thought of writing to him now to let him know what have been the later doings of his club -

If you have nothing to do, would you come & dine with me on Saturday at 7½? Mr Webb[9], the architect whom perhaps you know is coming & Chapman & possibly one or two others -

Very truly yours

B. Leighton.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [December 1867/January 1868]
Presumably this dates from shortly after the meeting in December 1867 which resulted in JW's expulsion from the Burlington Fine Arts Club on 13 December (see JW to W. Boxall, #00498).

2.  B. Leighton
Sir Baldwyn Leighton (ca 1836 - d.1897), Bart., MP [more].

3.  [coat of arms:]
This embossed crest has been crossed out with a large 'X'.

4.  Chapman
Possibly Alfred Chapman (1839-1917), engineer and collector [more].

5.  Burlington
The Burlington Fine Arts Club, a London club for professional artists, amateurs and collectors.

6.  Mr Rossetti
This could either be Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882), artist and poet [more], or his brother, William Michael Rossetti (1829-1919), civil servant and critic [more]. Both men took JW's side when he was threatened with expulsion from the Burlington Fine Arts Club as a result of his quarrel with Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more].

7.  Miss Bromleys
Nelly Bromley (1850-1939), actress [more].

8.  d'Azeglio
Vittorio Emanuelle Taparelli (1816-1890), Marquis D'Azeglio, Sardinian Ambassador and collector [more].

9.  Mr Webb
Probably Philip Speakman Webb (1831-1915), architect and designer [more].