The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Record 1 of 69

System Number: 01913
Date: [12/30 January 1859][1]
Author: JW
Place: [Paris]
Recipient: Deborah Delano Haden[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler H14
Document Type: MsLfc[3]

[...] [fol. 6[4]] I'm working hard and my stay in London with you and Seymour[5] has done me an immense good in "my art" - I have seen Henry Harrison[6] and have begun his portrait[7] which I hope to finish when he returns from England where he has gone for a few days - I have prepared sketches for two pictures and have drawn one of them in on the canvass [sic], all from Nature tell Seymour - I have very nearly finished a painting of a head[8] from life, which is likely to be the best thing I have yet done - and I am trying to make a portrait of Father[9] for George[10] from a lithograph[11] he sent me - this is very difficult, but with the aid of a glass and a friend who has promised to sit for me, and who is like Father in color, I hope to succeed -

My etchings[12] have been very much admired, and I wish Seymour would send me three fine proofs of each in black[13] ink. Little Martin[14] begs to be remembered, and particularly hopes for a set - A young friend of mine, Mons Frank[15] very gentlemanly, very handsome, and well dressed is going to London, probably next week and will call upon you Sis; I will send the songs for mes enfants[16] by him - He [fol. 7] is agreable, [sic] and doesn't speak the language of the Islanders[17], so you must ask him to come from time to time and like a good little Sis talk to him about his beau Paris, and so prevent him locking himself up with some lighted Ch charcoal, as his countrymen are wont to do when enuyéed[18]!

Tell Mr Traer[19] that he shall have the chess book, and beg him to live in the hopes of seeing me again some of these days - Tell Seymour to send me with the etchings, a proof of the one of yourself[20], and not to forget the photograph, of the little child he promised me - Kiss all the beaux enfants[21] for me, and don't let my wonderful little Annie[22] forget her

Uncle Jim

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [12/30 January 1859]
References in the letter to JW's etchings and a visit to the Hadens show that this letter dates from after JW's return from London to Paris on 12 January 1859.

2.  Deborah Delano Haden
Deborah ('Debo' or 'Sis') Delano Haden (1825-1908), née Whistler, JW's half-sister [more].

3.  MsLfc
This is one of several copies of the incomplete letter, and is written in an unknown hand. It was published in Thorp, Nigel (Editor), Whistler on Art: Selected Letters and Writings 1849-1903 of James McNeill Whistler, Manchester, 1994, and Washington, 1995, no. 4, pp. 9-10.

4.  fol.
This sheet is numbered '6', and the next '7', but earlier sheets have not been located.

5.  Seymour
Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more].

6.  Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison (b. 1837), son of S. and J. Harrison.

7.  portrait
Portrait of Henry Harrison (YMSM 30).

8.  painting of a head
Probably Head of an Old Man Smoking (YMSM 25) or La Mère Gérard (1) (YMSM 26).

9.  portrait of Father
Portrait of Major G. W. Whistler (1) (YMSM 28).

10.  George
George William Whistler (1822-1869), engineer, JW's half-brother [more].

11.  lithograph
A lithograph of George Washington Whistler (1800-1849), engineer, JW's father [more], was published in America in ca 1848. It was signed C. G. Crehen (1829-after 1891) and published by Thomas Larcombe (Vose, George Leonard, A Sketch of the Life and Works of George W. Whistler, Civil Engineer, Boston and New York, 1887, repr. frontispiece; see Portrait of Major G. W. Whistler (1) (YMSM 28)).

12.  etchings
Twelve Etchings from Nature, 1858 (the 'French Set', K.9-11, 13-17, 19, 21, 22, 24). (excat 3). The set was dedicated to Haden and published from his house in November 1858.

13.  black
Double underlined.

14.  Martin

15.  Mons Frank
Frank, a French artist, friend of JW.

16.  mes enfants
Fr., my children, here meaning the Haden children.

17.  Islanders
JW's ironical term for the British.

18.  enuyéed
'bored' (Anglo-Fr. corruption).

19.  Mr Traer
James Reeves Traer (ca 1834 - d.1867), partner in F. S. Haden's medical practice [more]. The word 'Fraer' has been noted in the left margin, in pencil.

20.  one of yourself
Probably Reading by Lamplight (K.32).

21.  beaux enfants
Fr., beautiful children (the Haden children, as above).

22.  Annie
Annie Harriet Haden (1848-1937), later Mrs Charles Thynne, JW's niece [more].