My dear Theo,
Today, Saturday, I’m sending you the two drawings

Fish-drying barn in the dunes, Scheveningen1
Carpenter’s yard and laundry (from the window of my studio).2

I’ve thought of you so often these past few days, and also occasionally about the time long ago when, as you will remember, you visited me in The Hague and we walked along Trekweg3 to Rijswijk and drank milk at the mill there. It may be that this influenced me somewhat when I did these drawings, in which I have tried as naїvely as possible to draw things exactly as I saw them. At the time of the mill, however dear those days still are to me, it would have been impossible for me to put what I saw and felt on paper. So what I’m saying is that the changes brought about by time have not fundamentally altered my feelings; it’s just that I believe they have taken a different form. My life, and yours too perhaps, after all, is no longer as sunny as it was then, but I still wouldn’t want to go back, because it’s precisely through some trouble and adversity that I see something good emerging, namely the expression of those feelings.
Rappard was pleased with a similar drawing which C.M. has,4 and moreover with all the others C.M. has. Especially with the largest of the almshouse.5 And he is someone who understands what I want and appreciates how difficult it is. I believe you would find Rappard much changed since his first time in Paris when you knew him.6
I have in front of me a volume of the Household edition of Dickens, with illustrations. They are excellent and are drawn by Barnard and Fildes.7 They show parts of Old London,8 which take on a very different appearance from the carpenter’s yard, for example, also because of the peculiarities of the wood engraving. Yet I still believe that the way to get that boldness and daring later is to quietly carry on observing as faithfully as possible now. As you see, there are several planes in this drawing, and one can look around in it and peer into all sorts of nooks and crannies. It lacks that ruggedness as yet, at least doesn’t by any means have that quality to the same extent as the above illustrations, but that will come with practice.  1v:2
I have heard from C.M. in the form of a postal order for 20 guilders but without a single word to go with it. So for the time being I haven’t the slightest idea whether he wants to order something new from me or whether the drawings are to his taste. But comparing it with the price paid for the previous ones, 30 guilders,9 and bearing in mind that this last batch (the first contained 12 small ones; this had 1 small one, 4 like the enclosed and 2 large ones – i.e. 7 items in all) was more substantial than the first, it seems to me that His Hon. had got out of the wrong side of the bed the day he received them, or that they failed to please for some reason or another. I readily admit that, to an eye used only to watercolours, drawings which have been scratched by pen or had lights scraped off or put back on in body-colour may seem a little harsh. But there are also people who, just as it is sometimes pleasant and invigorating for a healthy constitution to go for a walk when a strong wind is blowing, so there are also art lovers, I say, who aren’t afraid of the harsh.
Weissenbruch, for example, wouldn’t find these two drawings disagreeable or dull.
In the circumstances, should I learn that C.M. would rather not have any more, of course I cannot and will not force them on His Hon., but I hope that, for example when you come, you will be able to find out how things really stand.
Naturally, although I hadn’t expected him to give me 10 guilders less for this batch than for the previous one, I agree with the 20 guilders, all the more so because I left it to His Hon. to fix the price. And if he wants me to start on another 6 or 12, I’m ready to do that because I don’t want to miss any opportunity to sell something. I really want to do my best to accommodate His Hon., because I think that it’s worth the effort as long as I get my rent out of it and can make ends meet more easily. It’s just that His Hon. himself talked about giving more, not less, for more detailed drawings. I only raise the matter, after all, mainly to know what to do as regards a new order that is or is not to follow. It may also be that His Hon. will write to me himself later.  1v:3
In a few days, or today if I have time, I’ll send you a brief list of what is in my collection of wood engravings. I’m so sure you will take pleasure in them. While I spent less on paint this winter than others did, I had more expenses in connection with the study of perspective and proportion for an instrument described in a work by Albrecht Dürer and used by the Dutchmen of old.10 It makes it possible to compare the proportions of objects close at hand with those on a plane further away, in cases where construction according to the rules of perspective isn’t feasible. Which, if you do it by eye, will always come out wrong, unless you’re very experienced and skilled.
I didn’t manage to make the thing the first time around, but I succeeded in the end after trying for a long time with the aid of the carpenter and the smith. And I think that with more work I can get much better results still.
It would please me greatly if perhaps in your wardrobe there was a jacket and trousers suitable for me which you no longer wear.
Because if I buy something I like it to be as practical as possible for working in the dunes or indoors, but my clothes for going out are getting rather threadbare. And while I am not ashamed to be seen in the streets in a cheap suit when I go out to work, I am decidedly ashamed by gentleman’s clothes that give the impression of a gentleman down on his luck. My everyday clothes, however, aren’t at all shoddy, because now I have Sien to keep check of them and make minor repairs.
I end this letter by saying to you again that I so dearly wish that the family should not view my relationship with Sien as something of which there isn’t the slightest question, namely an intrigue. Which I would find unspeakably offensive and would only widen the gulf. What I hope is that they don’t interfere, with some ill-timed wisdom, to prevent me from being with her. I mean of the same sort as when Pa wanted to pack me off to Geel.11 The speculating about inheritances that you mention is quite out of the question, if only because there are no inheritances for me as far as I know, and indeed there cannot be for there is nothing. I believe there is literally no money at home. The only person from whom, in very different circumstances, I might perhaps have inherited something because I share his name, Uncle Cent, is someone with whom I have been on bad terms for many years on account of numerous things, and in such a manner that by the nature of the matter it cannot be resolved as if I were his protégé, because I myself certainly wouldn’t want that, and of course he hasn’t the slightest thought of any such thing any more, although I hope that, just like last year, if I meet His Hon. we shall not make a public scene. And now with a handshake

Ever yours,

portfolio  Irish characters, miners, factories, fishermen &c. for the most part small pen sketches.13
Landscapes and animals, Bodmer,14 Giacomelli,15 Lançon,16 also some landscapes
Labours of the fields by Millet,17 also Breton,18 Feyen-Perrin19 and English prints by Herkomer,20 Boughton,21 Clausen22 &c.
Gavarni,23 supplemented with lithographs, but no rare ones
Ed. Morin24
G. Doré25
Du Maurier, very numerous.26
Chs Keene27 and Sambourne28
J. Tenniel,29 supplemented with the Beaconsfield cartoons.30
for Punch.
    Missing here is John Leech,31 but this gap can easily be filled because there’s a reprint of his woodcuts that isn’t expensive.32
Fildes34 and Charles Green35 &c.
small French wood engravings, Album Boetzel36 &c.
Scenes on board English ships and military sketches.
Heads of the people by Herkomer,37 supplemented with drawings by others and by portraits
Scenes from everyday London life, from the opium smokers38 and Whitechapel and The Seven Dials39 to the most elegant ladies and Rotten Row40 or Westminster Park. Together with corresponding scenes from Paris and New York, the whole forms a curious ‘Tale of those cities’.41
1 portfolio. The large prints from The Graphic, London News, Harper’s Weekly, L’Illustration &c. including Frank Holl,42 Herkomer, Fred Walker,43 P. Renouard,44 Menzel,45 Howard Pyle.46
1 portfolio. The Graphic portfolio,47 being a separate publication of impressions of several woodcuts, not from the printing plates but the blocks themselves, among them the Homeless and hungry by Fildes.48
Several illustrated books, including Dickens and the Frederick the Great by Menzel, small edition.49


Br. 1990: 235 | CL: 205
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: The Hague, Saturday, 3 June 1882

1. Fish-drying barn (F 940 / JH 154 [2377]).
2. Theo was probably sent Carpenter’s yard and laundry (F 944 / JH 153 [2376]) (which ended up in the Enthoven collection in The Hague, which means that it must have been sold later, but no details about this are known); however, perhaps there was a third, unknown drawing of the same subject. The drawing Carpenter’s yard and laundry (F 939 / JH 150 [2375]), done with pencil, pen and brush and heightened with white, went to Uncle Cor; Van Gogh wrote that he had worked on it with the pen; see also n. 4.
[2376] [2375]
3. Van Gogh mentions this location more than once; see letter 11. The Rijkswijk meadows can be seen in the background of the drawing Carpenter’s yard and laundry.
4. Carpenter’s yard and laundry (F 939 / JH 150 [2375]). It is stated in letters 231 and 232 that Van Rappard admired both drawings.
5. Sien’s mother’s house (F 942/ JH 147 [2374]).
6. Theo had met Van Rappard earlier in Paris; see letter 160, n. 6.
7. Frederick Barnard was the most productive illustrator for Dickens’s Household Edition: he did drawings for 10 of the 22 volumes. The only work that he illustrated together with Luke Fildes and the brothers Edward Gurden and George Dalziel was The mystery of Edwin Drood (1870), with a total of 30 engravings. See Kitton, 1899, pp. 222-223. Cf. for the Household Edition letters 133, n. 53.
8. By ‘parts of old London’ Van Gogh may mean typical scenes of London (working-class) life or the topographical backgrounds depicted in Fildes’s Up the river (engraved by Charles Roberts) and the anonymous Durdles cautions Mr. Sapsea against boasting. Ill. 1920 [1920] and Ill. 1921 [1921]. See The mystery of Edwin Drood. Reprinted pieces and other stories. London [1879], facing the title page, relating to p. 109, and p. 57.
[1920] [1921]
9. See letter 211 for the amount mentioned and letter 214 for the payment by Uncle Cor.
10. Albrecht Dürer, The draughtsman of the reclining woman, Ill. 85 [85]. In Unterweisung der Messung mit dem Zirkel und Richtscheit. Das Lehrbuch der Malerei (1525) Dürer studied perspective and introduced a frame in which horizontal and vertical threads placed at equal intervals together formed a grid of squares. The woodcut was also known as a separate print (H271/B149). It was no doubt Armand Cassagne’s Guide de l’alphabet du dessin (1880) that put Van Gogh on the track of the perspective frame, a variant of the ‘cadre rectificateur’. See Dürer. Der schriftlicher Nachlass. Ed. Hans Rupprich. 3 vols. Berlin 1956-1969, vol. 2, p. 391; and cat. Amsterdam 1996, pp. 18-21.
11. For the ‘Geel affair’, see letter 185.
12. For Van Gogh’s print collection, which has come down to us incomplete, see exhib. cat. Amsterdam 2003, pp. 99-112. The annotations below cover only what is now in the estate.
13. In the estate there are several sheets from the series Irish sketches by among others Michael FitzGerald Turf market in the South of Ireland (t*546), and Richard Caton Woodville (ii) A fisherman’s cabin in Connemara (t*182) which had been in The Illustrated London News 76 (24 January 1880), p. 84 and 76 (13 March 1880), p. 249.
14. There is only one print after Bodmer in the estate, namely Le cerf mort (The dead stag), taken from L’Illustration 59 (2 March 1872), p. 137.
15. There are no prints by Hector Giacomelli in the estate.
16. In the estate there are 21 prints after Auguste André Lançon, mainly from La Vie Moderne, L’Illustration and Le Monde Illustré.
18. In the estate are Emile Adélard Breton’s Cimetière de Courrières (Churchyard at Courrières) from La Vie Moderne 1 (20 September 1879), p. 373, and Jules Breton’s Le soir (Salon de 1880) (The evening (Salon of 1880)) from both La Vie Moderne 2 (7 August 1880), pp. 504-505, and Le Monde Illustré 24 (28 August 1880), p. 117.
19. There are no prints by François Nicolas Auguste Feyen-Perrin in the estate.
20. For Herkomer’s prints in the estate, see letter 199.
21. In the estate there are three prints by George Henry Boughton: Verregnet, Genrebild aus der Bretagne (Rain-soaked, genre scene from Brittany) (t*822); The poisoned cup (t*494); and an untitled engraving (t*1487), whose sources are unknown.
22. There are two prints after George Clausen in the estate: the wood engraving Fisher folk in church: Island of Urk, Zuyder Zee, from The Graphic 19 (24 May 1879), p. 516, and the photogravure ‘The night brings rest’. La nuit ramène le repos (Nord Holland) (source unknown) after a drawing by J. Watkins (t*474 and t*473).
[260] [261]
23. There are 25 prints by Paul Gavarni in the estate.
24. In the estate there are six prints after Edmond Morin (the first two are explicitly mentioned in letter 309): Roeiwedstrijd in Engeland (Boat race in England), engraved by Henry Linton, from De Hollandsche Illustratie 1 (1864-1865), eerste helft, no. 14, p. 112. Ill. 1922 [1922]. (t*314); De beroemde kastanjeboom van 20 maart (The famous chestnut tree of 20 March), engraved by E. Roevens, from De Hollandsche Illustratie 1 (1864-1865), tweede helft, no. 14, p. 108. Ill. 1923 [1923]. (t*468); Les grandes étapes de l’électricité (The great steps in the development of electricity) by Henry Linton, from Le Monde Illustré 25 (22 October 1881) (t*635); Les dieux tombés, Hercule (The fallen gods, Hercules) by Fortuné Louis Méaulle, from Le Monde Illustré 26 (28 January 1882) (t*649); L’électricité, suppression du temps, de la nuit, de la distance (Electricity, the suppression of time, night and distance) by Auguste Louis Lepère, from Le Monde Illustré 25 (22 October 1881) (t*633), and Godsdienstige bijeenkomst in onderaards gewelf (A religious gathering in an underground vault) from an unknown Dutch magazine (t*467).
[1922] [1923] [263] [264] [265]
25. There are 35 Doré prints in the estate.
26. In the estate there are dozens of prints by George du Maurier, principally from Punch.
27. In the estate there is just one print by Charles Samuel Keene, from Punch (t*989), although – when talking in July 1888 about the number of sheets by Keene he thought he had – Van Gogh writes: ‘there were a good 200’ (letter 642).
28. There are 42 prints by Edward Linley Sambourne in the estate, all from Punch.
29. There are 95 prints by Sir John Tenniel, all from Punch.
30. Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield, was a statesman and the prime minister in 1868, and from 1874 to 1880. Any number of caricatures of him appeared in Punch.
31. In the estate there are 14 prints by John Leech, all from Punch.
32. By ‘reprint’ Van Gogh may mean the five-part series Pictures of life and character... from the collection of Mr. Punch which had appeared in London in the years 1854, 1857, 1860, 1863 and 1869 (BLL). In 1869 the London publisher Bradbury, Evans & Co. advertised more than ten works illustrated by Leech; the price was 12 shillings per volume. See The Publishers’ Circular and General Record of British and Foreign Literature. London (8 December 1869), p. 835.
33. In the estate there are 54 prints by Barnard from prior to June 1882, most of which come from The Illustrated London News (volumes 1874-1882).
34. In the estate there are four prints by Fildes, all from The Graphic, one of which is from The Graphic Portfolio (see nn. 47 and 48 below).
35. In the estate there are eleven prints by Charles Green, nine from The Graphic and two from The Illustrated London News.
37. The series Heads of the people drawn from life was in The Graphic. From it Van Gogh definitely had Hubert von Herkomer’s The agricultural labourer – Sunday, no. 2 in the series, in The Graphic 12 (9 October 1875), p. 360. Ill. 170 [170]. (t*184), and The coastguardsman, not numbered, in The Graphic 20 (20 September 1879), Supplement, not paginated. Ill. 1924 [1924]. (t*94). See exhib. cat. London 1992, p. 139, cat. nos. 90-91; on the series Werness 1972, pp. 117-121, who also discusses The brewer’s drayman, no. 4 in the series, in The Graphic 12 (20 November 1875), p. 508. For the series, see also letter 293.
[170] [1924] [446]
38. There are four prints with opium smokers in the estate: William Bazett Murray, Opium-smoking at the East End of London, from The Illustrated London News 65 (1 August 1874), p. 101 (Ill. 1925 [1925]); John Charles Dollman, London sketches – An opium den at the East End, from The Graphic 22 (23 October 1880), p. 401 (Ill. 1926 [1926]); Gustave Doré, Opium smoking – The Lascar’s room in “Edwin Drood”, engraved by Albert Doms, from a French magazine (Ill. 1927 [1927]), and Auguste Lançon, Les chinois fumeurs d’opium à Londres (The Chinese opium smokers in London), from La Vie Moderne 2 (16 October 1880), no. 42, p. 665 (Ill. 1928 [1928]). t*304, t*147, t*169 and t*1348 respectively.
[1925] [1926] [1927] [1928]
39. Van Gogh had the print The morning toilet, Seven Dials by William Bazett Murray, from The Illustrated London News 65 (5 September 1874), p. 232. Ill. 1191 [1191]. (t*116). Seven Dials was a poor area in London.
40. Rotten Row is a road in Hyde Park in London.
41. An allusion to Dickens’ novel A tale of two cities, which is set in London and Paris.
42. For Holl’s prints in the estate, see letter 199.
43. For Walker’s prints in the estate, see letter 199.
44. In the estate there are 52 prints from prior to June 1882 by Charles Paul Renouard, most from L’Illustration (1881-1882) and a few from The Graphic (1879).
45. In the estate there are two prints by Adolf Menzel, both from unidentified magazines: Le tabacks-collegium (The Smoking Parliament) and Le vieux Frederic (Frederic le Grand) (Old Frederick (Frederick the Great)) (t*821 and t*463).
46. In the estate there are five prints by Howard Pyle from Harper’s Weekly, one from The Graphic and one from The Illustrated London News.
47. The Graphic published The Graphic Portfolio more than once: in 1875 it was a selection of 50 wood engravings from the most influential wood-engraved illustrated publications of the 1870s. An advertisement drew attention to this splendid publication ‘on thick plate paper’. See The Graphic (25 December 1875), p. 3. Van Gogh had among others Before dinner – the march past by George du Maurier from The Graphic Portfolio of 1871, and Houseless and hungry [1905] by Fildes and The rival grandpas and grandmas by George du Maurier from The Graphic Portfolio of 1877.
49. Van Gogh says – and he repeats it in letter 267 – that he has a small edition of Menzel’s illustrations for the Geschichte Friedrichs des Großen. The editions traced (see letter 133, n. 19) cannot really be described as small: the early German editions are all about 16 x 26 cm; the Dutch edition of 1843-1845 is 15.5 x 24.5 cm. But in 1861 and 1867 ‘kleine Volksausgaben’ (small popular editions) were published in Germany. See Elfried Bock, Adolf Menzel. Verzeichnis seines graphischen Werkes. Berlin 1923, p. 286.