The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: etching sets, Thames
Record 2 of 4

System Number: 04241
Date: 13 February [1868?][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: W. R. S. Markwell[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler M511
Document Type: ALS[3]

2 Lindsey Row -

Thursday morning Feb. 13.

Dear Markwell -

I am so grieved for what has happened and for my stupidity in the matter! - But your kind letter[4] has only just reached me - and so yesterday after remaining at home all day that I might be sure about the picture[5] going properly, I left the house just before 9. o'clock - thinking, as I [p. 2] had heard nothing, that my brother[6] must have been mistaken as to the day - or that I had misunderstood him and probably that it was for the morrow (today) -

I then said nothing to the servant as I felt sure that it was too late - but of course my guardian angel who has of late been most neglectful of my happiness (I shall think seriously of discharging him) managed all this disappointment for me! [p. 3] he believes it to [be] his duty to correct me for my sins! Directly heI had gone, it appears, your man came - quel guignon[7] me poursuit! And so I have lost what I am sure would have been a most delightful evening! and also have the mortification of having given you the trouble of sending in vain all this way -

Can Mrs Markwell[8] forgive this stupidity on my part! I venture to entreat her to accept as a peace offering, these few [p. 4] etchings[9] which I had picked out to send to her yesterday with the picture and which I now confide to the treacherous post that in its tardiness is the cause of my disappointment last night. -

I will deliver your message to Rossetti[10] and bring him with me some day to see you -

With many regrets for last night believe me
Tout a [sic] vous

J A. McN Whistler

This document is protected by copyright.



W. R. S. Markwell. Esq
42. Queens Road
[postmark:] LONDON-S-W / 7 / NO 30 / 68 [12]
[postmark on reverse flap:] LONDON-W / G7 / NO [3]0 / 68


1.  13 February [1868?]
'Friday 13 February' indicates 1868 or 1873. JW's reference to the 'guardian angel who has of late been most neglectful of my happiness' suggests that this letter may well date from 1868. The previous year had been a troublesome one for JW in personal and professional terms. The chief event was JW's dispute with the Burlington Fine Arts Club (resulting in his expulsion on 13 December 1867) and with Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more] (by February 1868, their relationship was about to terminate for good) relating to the death of James Reeves Traer (ca 1834 - d.1867), partner in F. S. Haden's medical practice [more], in April 1867. It lingered on into the early months of 1868 (see for example, JW to Marquis D'Azeglio, #00448 and Wrentmore & Son to JW, #11981).

2.  W. R. S. Markwell
William Robert S. Markwell, patron [more].

3.  ALS
The envelope that is contained in GUL Whistler M511 is from a later date than the letter, although it was sent to the same recipient.

4.  letter

5.  picture
Possibly Symphony in White, No. 3 (YMSM 61).

6.  brother
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more].

7.  quel guignon ... poursuit
Fr., what rotten luck plagues me!

8.  Mrs Markwell
Mrs W. R. S. Markwell, wife of a collector [more]

9.  etchings
Perhaps etchings of the Thames such as Old Hungerford Bridge (K.76) and Early Morning, Battersea (K.75), published with the Thames Set in 1871.

10.  Rossetti
Probably Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882), artist and poet [more].

11.  'Whistler'
Written in another hand, probably that of Markwell.

12.  LONDON-S-W / 7 / NO 30 / 68
The November date indicates that the envelope does not relate to this letter.