The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: society expulsion
Record 4 of 7

System Number: 00446
Date: [14 December 1867][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Louis Huth[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler B226
Document Type: ALS[3]



2. Lindsey Row
near Old Battersea bridge
Chelsea -

Dear Sir -

I learn today that it is you I have to thank for the opportunity given me last night, at the General Meeting[5], to state my provocation - Your appeal I longed to answer on the spot. - What, on principle I denied to the club, I am anxious to offer to you as a man -

The respect and good opinion of all is most dear to me - but I am unwilling to trespass on you [p. 2] until I know how far such a step would be pleasant -

Believe me, dear Sir
faithfully Yours -

J. A. McN. Whistler -

Believe me this is not intended to lead to further disturbance, but is simply an earnest desire to retain the regard of one who evinced throughout a certain sympathy for my attacked position. -

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [14 December 1867]
Dated from reference to general meeting and day of week.

2.  Louis Huth
The recipient is probably Louis Huth (1821-1905), collector [more]. The letter relates to the Burlington Fine Arts Club, a club for artists and connoisseurs. In April 1867, JW quarrelled with Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more], over Haden's 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, having brought to the Club's attention several alleged previous incidents of assault involving JW (JW to L. Huth, #02240, JW to W. Boxall, #00498). JW was asked to resign on the threat of expulsion in June 1867 (see R. N. Wornum to JW, #10442). However JW, aggrieved with the summary way in which he felt the Club had treated him, refused to entertain the charges against him, claiming the Club had no right to interfere in a private matter (see JW to L. Huth, #02240). Despite his protests, he was expelled on 13 December (see note below). However, on 16 December, determined to maintain his defence, he declared his intention to draw up 'an explanation and refutation of the charges brought against me [...] which I shall give to Boxall and Huth - that they may hand it in to the Committee' (JW to W. M. Rossetti, #09390). Huth was on the committee of the Club. He had also been one of JW's proposers when JW joined the Club on 22 February 1867.

3.  ALS
There is a draft of this letter at MS Whistler B225.

Printed letterhead. The Arundel was a literary, scientific and artistic gentlemen's club.

5.  General Meeting
A special General Meeting of the Club, held on Friday 13 December 1867, voted for JW's expulsion (see R. N. Wornum, circular to Club membership, #00445).