1. For Van Rappard’s Old woman at the spinning wheel [330], see letter 344, n. 4
2. For Van Rappard’s Tile painters [332], see letters 331, n. 14 and 344, n. 7.
3. In the autumn of 1882 Van Rappard had done some studies at the Institute for the Blind in Utrecht. See e.g. Van Rappard’s drawing Head of a blind old man (Amsterdam, Rijksprentenkabinet). Ill. 2100 [2100]. Cf. exhib. cat. Amsterdam 1974, pp. 79-80, cat. nos. 83-89.
4. The excerpt comes from the ‘Preface’ to Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit. Van Gogh knew the version in the Library Edition (1859) or the Cheap Edition (1861 and 1865). There the opening sentence reads ‘I was’, whereas other editions have ‘I have been’. See Dickens 1979, p. lxi. The emphasis on continuous attention is Van Gogh’s own. The word ‘complete’ (l. 51) is ‘completed’ in the original.
5. Erckmann-Chatrian, Histoire d’un paysan (1868) is a four-volume work about the French Revolution and the period afterwards (1789-1815) seen through the eyes of the Alsace peasant Michel Bastien. In 1789 the Declaration of the Rights of Man was drawn up and four years later the Constitution was adopted. The significance of this is explored in Histoire d’un paysan. Van Gogh had a copy of Histoire d’un paysan – 1789 – Les états géneraux – par Erckmann-Chatrian. Illustrée par Théophile Schuler – Gravures par Pannemaker. L’histoire de la Révolution, racontée par un paysan. Paris, Bibliothèque populaire d’éducation et de récréation. J. Hetzel et Cie, 18 Rue Jacob, 1869. He did indeed give it to Van Rappard, one of whose descendants owns this copy with the name ‘Vincent’ inscribed at the front.
6. By the gospel ‘of Year 1’ Van Gogh means the biblical gospel. The fact that he gives the number so explicitly has to do with the renumbering of the years in France after the Revolution. The subtitle of one of the editions of Histoire d’un paysan is L’an I de la République (Paris 1869). Van Gogh may have borrowed the comparison of the gospel to the French Constitution from Carlyle or Michelet. See Sund 1992, pp. 260-261 (nn. 89-92).
7. For Roll’s A miners’ strike [1950], see letter 263, n. 5.
8. This is Van der Weele’s A misty morning, see letter 327, n. 1.
9. A study by Van Rappard for which Van Gogh posed is not known. Heenk has suggested that the portrait of Van Rappard that Van Gogh drew was done at this time (Van Rappard F 1297r / JH 491). See cat. Amsterdam 1997, p. 107.
10. This is probably Aimé Perret, since subjects recur in his work that are related to those in the work of Léon Augustin Lhermitte and Jules Bastien-Lepage (such as farm labourers, peasants, etc.); for example, Le semeur (The sower) (1881), which was shown at the Salon of 1881 and illustrated in La Vie Moderne 3 (1 October 1881), p. 633.