My dear friend Rappard,
Your letter has just arrived, for which I thank you. I’m glad to read once more that you take pleasure in the woodcuts. I also respect your views regarding what I’ve sent from time to time, and hope to go on sending unless you have an objection. But I’m faced by a difficult question — one that’s actually impossible for me to decide and yet I will decide it — namely, to say what they cost me. As you know, I have a particular liking for woodcuts. I usually buy them very cheaply, and yet by my standards I spend quite a lot on them and have never regretted that. Whether I paid more or less for them, though, has nothing to do with what I sent to you — since I sent you duplicates and nothing that I didn’t already have myself, as you saw in fact this summer when we sorted out the duplicates together.
I didn’t buy what I sent you especially for you — apart from a few exceptions, and for those few exceptions I only paid a little and only wish I could find more like them. But since you insist, I will charge you, say one daalder,1 which you can send me if you like, for example in stamps at your convenience. Then you needn’t have any misgivings about not dealing fairly with me financially. So in this way I believe this question is settled.  1r:2
Now I’ve asked you to tell me whether you receive magazines like, for example, L’Illustration or The Graphic regularly, that’s to say this year’s issues. This is because I’m in negotiations with someone who’s selling a number of magazines that come from a subscription library.2 I’ve decided to take them in any case, but I already have one or two from the current year, so I’ll probably get some duplicates again. If they come from L’Illustration, for example, and if I know you already have L’Illustration, I’ll give the duplicates, when there’s an opportunity, to someone else who might enjoy them and collects them (though at the moment I don’t know of anyone for them). But if I know you don’t have them, then of course they’re yours.
I had just agreed to take this batch, even before I had received your letter, and hope to have them within a fortnight or so, perhaps even sooner — so let me know, if you would, what your position is as regards magazines in 1882.
Of course I don’t yet know whether I’ll have a lot of duplicates or not, but there are bound to be some. So be so good as to let me know about this. I’ll charge you something again if it’s worth the trouble, or we can settle it when the opportunity arises, but oblige me by telling me if I can be of service. I take an interest in your collection, and would like to see it become a very fine one. Later I may be able to send more important things.  1v:3
I already have about 40 large and small prints by Renouard.3 Recently I found The exchange4 and A speech by M. Gambetta5 and prints from the orphanage6 by him. But above all I’m certain you would take great pleasure in a couple of large Lançons.7
Caton Woodville 8 is also very good. The more I see of him, the more I’m beginning to like him. Do you know Montbard? I believe you do at least have landscapes by him. But lately I got some sketches by him of Ireland9 and of Jernsey10 in which there was a great deal of sentiment.
I sincerely hope that you’ll take pleasure in your painting at Arti.11 I don’t think I’ll see the exhibition.
I’m very busy with drawings of an orphan man, as the almsmen are usually called here. Don’t you think that the expressions orphan man and orphan woman are just right?12 It isn’t easy to do the types one comes across on the street.
As to watercolours, I have several that I’ve started, but they haven’t yet worked out as I wished, but I’m enjoying it more than in the past. Here’s a scratch of an orphan man13 — adieu, I write in haste — so let me know soon about the woodcuts, whether you have them or not. With a handshake,

Ever yours,


Br. 1990: 269 | CL: R14
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Anthon van Rappard
Date: The Hague, on or about Saturday, 23 September 1882

1. A daalder is 1.50 guilders.
2. For the subscription library, see letter 263, n. 1.
a. Variant of ‘kleinere’.
3. For the prints by Renouard in the estate, see letter 235, n. 44.
4. Paul Renouard, La bourse et les boursiers (The exchange and the brokers), in L’Illustration 79 (18 February 1882), p. 104. Ill. 381 [381]. (t*22).
5. Paul Renouard, Un discours de M. Gambetta: Gestes et attitudes (A speech by M. Gambetta: Gestures and attitudes), in L’Illustration 78 (17 September 1881), p. 188. Ill. 385 [385]. (t*23).
6. The following prints from the series Les enfants assistés (The orphanage) are in the estate: La crèche (The crèche), engraved by Charles Baude. Ill. 1956 [1956] (three copies: t*61, t*644 and t*768); Le change (The change) engraved by Charles Baude. Ill. 1957 [1957] (three copies: t*761, t*765 and t*766), in L’Illustration 79 (25 March 1882), p. 192 and p. 197; Le repas des sevrés – Scrofuleux – Rachitique – On apprend a marcher (The meal of the weaned babies – A scrofulous child – A rachitic child – They learn to walk) Ill. 1970 [1970] (t*762); L’heure de la bouillie (Time for porridge) engraved by Henry Thiriat. Ill. 1959 [1959] (t*763); La première division passe au réfectoire (The first group goes to the dining room), engraved by Henry Thiriat. Ill. 396 [396] (t*747) and Le numéro 68,782 (Number 68.782), engraved by Henry Thiriat. Ill. 395 [395] (t*767), all from L’Illustration 79 (1 April 1882), pp. 209, 213, 212. Van Gogh must also have had Aux enfants trouvés. L’abandon (In the foundlings’ house. Abandonment) engraved by Stéphane Pannemaker, in L’Illustration 79 (25 March 1882), pp. 194-195, as is evident from letter 321. Ill. 1978 [1978].
[1956] [1957] [1970] [1959] [396] [395] [1978]
7. For the prints by Lançon in the estate, see letter 235, n. 16.
8. In the estate there are seven prints by Richard Caton Woodville (II), all from The Illustrated London News 76-78 (1880-1881).
9. In the estate there are the following prints by G. Montbard on Irish themes: Types et physionomies d’Irlande – Halte de paysans irlandais au retour d’une fête (Irish types and physiognomies – Irish peasants resting on the way back from a party), engraved by Henri Pierre Paillard, in L’Illustration 62 (16 August 1873), p. 116. Ill. 1958 [1958]; Types et physionomies d’Irlande – Un intérieur irlandais (Irish types and physiognomies – An Irish interior), in L’Illustration 62 (13 September 1873), p. 173 Ill. 1979 [1979]; and Moeurs irlandaises – Une expulsion (Irish customs – An eviction), in L’Illustration 63 (10 January 1874) Ill. 1980 [1980], p. 25. (t*827, t*826 and t*478 respectively.)
[1958] [1979] [1980]
10. The Channel Islands are Jersey and Guernsey. This must be a case of conflation. Montbard did at least one work about Jersey, namely a view of Montorgueil à Jersey. See Béraldi 1885-1892, p. 111, no. 17.
11. Van Rappard had submitted a painting of a Drenthe woman at the spinning wheel (present whereabouts unknown) for the exhibition of ‘Levende Meesters’ (Living Masters) at the artists’ society Arti et Amicitiae, of which he had been a member since 1881; the painting was to be rejected. See exhib. cat. Amsterdam 1974, pp. 12, 76, cat. nos. 75-77; and letter 277.
12. The term ‘orphan man’ was in fact used mainly for the elderly in the Roman Catholic Orphanage and Old People’s Home in Warmoezierstraat, but evidently more widely applied too. For Van Gogh’s model Zuyderland, see letter 267, n. 20.
13. This letter sketch, Old man with an umbrella seen from the back (F - / JH 214), corresponds to the drawing of the same name (F 968 / JH 213 [3026]). The legend ‘N 199’ refers to the number that residents of the Old Men’s and Women’s Home were required to wear visibly. Van Gogh also sketched this number on the right sleeve – which eventually made it possible to identify the model as Zuyderland. See cat. Amsterdam 1996, pp. 128-131, cat. no. 31.