Edward Godwin was the only son of Beatrice and E. W. Godwin; he was thus Whistler's step-son. He never married.
Beatrice and Edward (then aged eleven) were left in straightened circumstances when E. W. Godwin died in 1886. Whistler circulated a petition to raise money for the family and joined a group led by the Duke of Argyll and the poet Lord Tennyson who campaigned successfully for Beatrice to receive a pension from the civil list.
Edward Godwin seems to have been an occasional messenger and assistant to Whistler. Whistler took him and his own son Charles Hanson to the Wild West Show in London in 1887 (see Ship m1146, r.: and v.: Eagle m1147).
Edward studied at a private boarding school in Caterham. Whistler later asked the sculptor Alfred Stevens to supervise Edward Godwin's studies. Edward became a sculptor; his works include the bronze angels on the Whistlers' tomb in Chiswick churchyard, and a portrait of Ronald Murray Philip (his uncle) that is in the family collection. He exhibited Exhibited at Third Exhibition of the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers (London), 1901 'Study of a Head'. He aso exhibited with the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists), and the Royal Academy of Arts up to 1921.
In 1901 Edward was living with Whistler's mother-in-law Frances Birnie Philip, and several of the family (Philippa, Frances, Rosalind and Ronald) at 36 Tite Street, next door to E.A. Abbey, in Chelsea. In 1911 he was still with the Birnie Philips, by this time at Dhu House in Tite Street, when he was recorded as a 'Sculptor (artist)'.
UK census 1901, Ancestry.com, 1911 ; MacDonald, Margaret F., James McNeill Whistler. Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours. A Catalogue Raisonné, New Haven and London, 1995 ; MacDonald, Margaret F., Beatrice Whistler Artist and Designer, exhibition catalogue, Glasgow, 1997. Soros, Susan Weber, ‘Godwin, Edward William (1833–1886)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. 'Edward Godwin', Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951, website. Colgrave, Sarah, 'Edward Godwin (1876-1957)', The Victorian Web.