London, 19 Nov. 1873
My dear Theo,
I want to make sure that you hear from me soon after arriving in The Hague.1 I’m longing to hear your first impression of your new position and lodgings.2 I heard about the beautiful souvenir you got from Mr Schmidt, which just shows that you did very well indeed.3 I’m glad that we’re both working for the same firm now. Latterly we’ve had quite a few paintings and drawings and sold a lot of them, but we still have a long way to go, it has to become more solid and lasting and substantial. I believe that there’s still a lot
1v:2 to do here in England, but it can’t be done all at once, and of course the first thing we need is to have good paintings &c., and that will be quite a feat. Well, we have to see how it goes and do the best we can with the means at our disposal.
How are the nouveautés4 selling in Holland? Here there’s literally almost nothing to be done with the ordinary engravings after Brochart5 &c. The good burin engravings6 sell quite well; among other things we’ve already sold around 20 artist’s proofs of the Venus anadyomene after Ingres.7 But it’s a delight to see how the photos sell, especially the coloured ones,8 and they yield a handsome profit. The Musée Goupil & Cie photos we sell only en papillottes,9 around 100 a day on average. I imagine you’ll like working in the gallery in
1v:3 The Hague, once you’ve got used to it a little. I don’t doubt that your lodgings at the Rooses’ will be to your liking. You should walk a lot if you can find the time. Bid a very good-day from me to all the Rooses.
You must write and tell me which painters you like best, both the old and the new, you must be sure to do this, I’m curious to know.
You must in any case go to the museum often, it’s good to be acquainted with the old painters, too, and if you get the chance read about art, and especially magazines about art, the Gazette des Beaux-Arts10 &c.
When there’s an opportunity I’ll send you a book by Bürger about the museums of The Hague and Amsterdam;11 when you’ve finished it there will be an opportunity to send it back to me.
Ask Iterson to write to me if he has a moment, and in particular to send me a list of the painters who
1r:4 were awarded prizes at the Paris exhibition.12 Is Somerwil13 still with the firm, or has he left now that you’re coming?
Things are going all right for me here, I have a nice home, and even though the firm isn’t as exciting as the Hague branch, it’s perhaps good that I’m here, and later on especially, when the trade in paintings becomes a little more important, I’ll possibly be of use. And then, I can’t tell you how interesting it is to see London and the trade and the way of life here, which are so very different from ours.
You’ll have had some pleasant days at home;14 how much I’d like to see them all again too.
Tell everyone who asks after me that I bid them good-day, especially the Tersteegs, Haanebeeks, Aunt Fie,15 Van Stockums, and the Rooses, and give Betsy Tersteeg news of me sometime when she comes downstairs.16 And now, old chap, I wish you well. Write to me soon.
Do you have my room at the Rooses’, or the one you slept in last summer?