The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: White House, lease
Record 3 of 44

System Number: 04050
Date: 27 February 1878
Author: W. Wyke Smith[1]
Place: London
Recipient: George and William Webb[2]
Place: London
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler M321
Document Type: ALS

Metropolitan Board of Works
Solicitors Department
Spring Gardens S. W.

27 February 1878

Dear Sirs,

Chelsea Embankment
Plots 37 and 38[3]

The Board have had before them your request on behalf of your client, Mr Whistler, that they will now grant to him the lease of these plots and I am directed by the Board to inform you in reply that they are not prepared at any rate at present, to grant the lease as requested, as your client has not carried out the terms of his building agreement[4] so as to entitle him to a grant of the lease.

The building agreement distinctly provides that Mr Whistler shall submit plans and elevations &c. of the buildings proposed to be built by him for the approval of the Architect of the Board and that he shall submit to any alterations modifications or additions in such plans elevations &c. required by the Architect and that the buildings shall be built in strict conformity to the plans elevations &c. when so approved. Your Client however, although he has hitherto failed to obtain the approval of his plans has chosen to proceed with his buildings in defiance of the terms of his agreement with the Board & notwithstanding repeated protests from their Architect. Under these circumstances there is no question, [p. 2] that the Board are, under the terms of the agreement entitled (apart from any other remedies which they may have) to put an end to the agreement between them & your client and to appropriate as forfeited the deposit paid by him and to resume possession of the plots of ground. The Board however before proceeding in this manner or taking any other action against him are desirous (but without prejudice of course to their strict rights) of affording your client an opportunity of making such alterations in and additions to the buildings under the superintendence of their Architect as they may be advised by him are necessary & proper to be made before they grant their lease. I am therefore to suggest that your client should at once put his architect[5] in communication with Mr Vulliamy[6] the Boards Architect on this subject

Yours faithfully

W. Wyke Smith

per Geo P Jackson[7]

Messrs G & W Webb
11 Austin Friars

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1.  W. Wyke Smith
William Wyke Smith (1808-1878), Solicitor, Metropolitan Board of Works, London [more]. The Metropolitan Board of Works withheld the lease for JW's new house, the White House on Tite Street, until alterations were made to the facade.

2.  George and William Webb
JW's lawyers.

3.  Plots 37 and 38
This was the site for JW's new house and studio, the White House, in Tite Street.

4.  building agreement
Possibly refering to the agreement between JW and B. E. Nightingale drawn up by J. A. Rose, 6 November 1877, #08927.

5.  architect
Edward William Godwin (1833-1886), architect and designer [more].

6.  Mr Vulliamy
George John Vulliamy (1817-1886), Superintending Architect with the Metropolitan Board of Works, London [more].

7.  per Geo P Jackson
George P. Jackson, employee of the Metropolitan Board of Works.