1. Obach had made a journey to the Netherlands and had evidently visited Brussels as well. Cf. FR b2644, 19 July 1873.
2. It is possible that Van Gogh is referring to the French painter Philippe Jacques Linder; it is not known which work Theo wrote about.
3. The essence of the process of photo-engraving is the application of a light-sensitive layer to the matrix (the copper plate), upon which a transparency is projected. The exposed material hardens and the unexposed material can then be removed, after which the plate is etched. Characteristic of the result is the soft, velvety quality of the depiction.
4. Two reproductions are known of The Huguenot by Sir John Everett Millais. The successful mezzotint by Thomas Oldham Barlow, published by Henry Graves in 1857 (London, Victoria & Albert Museum), ill. 261 [261]; and the stipple and etching (small edition) made by George Zobel, which was issued in 1869 by B. Brooks. See Engen 1995, pp. 54-57, 122. Cf. exhib. cat. Nottingham 1974, p. 15.
The painting A Huguenot, 1852 (New York, Huntingdon Hartford College) was exhibited in 1852 at the Royal Academy in London under the title A Huguenot, on St Bartholomew’s Day, refusing to shield himself from danger by wearing the roman catholic badge. See exhib. cat. London 1992, p. 43 (n. 2).
James Stephenson’s mezzotint of Ophelia, 1852 (London, Tate Gallery), was published in 1866 by Henry Graves (London, British Museum). Ill. 264 [264]. See Engen 1995, pp. 60-62, 122.
[261] [264]
5. Van Gogh is referring to the photograph of a painting by George Henry Boughton: Early Puritans of New England going to worship armed, to protect themselves from indians and wild beasts, 1867 (New York, The New York Historical Society; Robert L. Stuart Collection). Ill. 618 [618]. This work was also for sale as a ‘Carte de visite’ as Puritains allant à l’église (Bordeaux, Musée Goupil. Inv. no. 90.II.1.606).
6. Turner has a large graphic oeuvre. The Liber studiorum (1808-1819), a collection of graphic works classified by theme, was the result of collaboration between the artist and various professional engravers; Turner himself made ten mezzotints. See Luke Herrmann, Turner prints. The engraved work of J.M.W. Turner. Oxford 1990.
7. Goupil’s 1874 catalogue records the following works by Tissot: Chinoiseries, Le goûter (Afternoon tea) and Les patineuses (Lac de Longchamps) (Women skating (Lake Longchamps)), cat. nos. 852-854. For a complete list of the prints by Tissot that Goupil had in stock, see Pierre-Lin Renié, ‘Tissot, Bingham, Goupil: le peintre et ses éditeurs’, James Tissot et ses maîtres. Cyrille Sciama. Exhib. cat. Nantes (Musée des Beaux-arts), 2005-2006. Nantes 2005, pp. 111-119.
8. Van Gogh is referring to reproductions after Wauters’s paintings The painter Hugo van der Goes in the red cloister, 1872 (Brussels, Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts) and Mary of Burgundy begging mercy of the magistrates of Ghent for her advisers Hugonet and Humbercourt, 1870 (Liège, Musée d’art moderne et d’art contemporain (Mamac) Ill. 447 [447] and Ill. 448 [448]. In 1872 Wauters made another version of Mary of Burgundy (Brussels, Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, inv. no. 5070). Both works were shown at the Brussels Salon of 1872, which Van Gogh visited (see letters 4, 6 and 13).
[447] [448]
9. Van Gogh is referring to Henri de Braekeleer, a son of the artist Ferdinand de Braekeleer. At the ‘Exposition générale des Beaux-Arts’ (General Exhibition of Fine Arts), held from 15 August to 15 October 1872, the following works by Henri de Braekeleer were exhibited: Antwerp: The cathedral, 1872 (Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, depot Royal Collection), The catechism lesson (The school or The lesson), 1872 and The atlas (The geographer), 1871 (both in Brussels, Musée Royaux des Beaux-Arts). Ill. 627 [627], ill. 630 [630] and ill. 628 [628]. See Todts 1988, pp. 40, 80-81, 113-114, 122, 124-125.
[627] [630] [628]
10. A fishing village and seaside resort near The Hague.
11. On Friday, 11 July, Anna had arrived, ill, in Helvoirt; she had a fever and a severe headache (FR b2641).
12. It is not certain which Maris Van Gogh is referring to here: the Dutch painters and brothers Jacob (Jaap) Hendrik Maris, Matthijs Maris and Willem Maris are possibilities, although the last of the three is less likely, considering his secondary importance in Van Gogh’s correspondence.
13. See the appendix at the end of the letter. The quotation is the last line of the poem.
14. Van Gogh’s last evening at home was 11 May 1873.
15. At that time the Rijswijkseweg ran south of The Hague. The brothers took a walk there which Vincent mentions more than once. The mill referred to is possibly the Laakmolen, well known in those days, where one could buy, in addition to a glass of milk for 1 cent, fried eels. The doubt as to the mill’s identity is connected with Van Gogh’s assertion in July 1882 that the mill had been demolished (see letter 248). However, there is no archival evidence to verify the demolition in the intervening years of one of the mills on the Rijswijkse Trekvliet; on the contrary, improvements were carried out at this very time. See exhib. cat. The Hague 1990, p. 37.
One of the things they evidently spoke about here was the possibility of becoming painters together, for he later writes: ‘Since I know that our thoughts crossed each other in our first years with G&Cie, that is that both you and I thought then about becoming painters, but so deeply that we didn’t dare to say it straight out then, even to each other, it could well be that in these later years we draw closer together’, and: ‘I see those same two brothers in earlier years – when you were just coming into the world of painting, just beginning to read &c. &c. – by the mill in Rijswijk’ (letters 413 and 414).
16. This most likely refers to the lithograph Molen langs de Trekvaart (Landschap bij ondergaande zon) (Mill by the Trekvaart (Landscape at sunset)); Theo’s scrapbook with prints opens in fact with this litho by Jan Hendrik Weissenbruch, which was included in the Kunstkronijk 8, NS (1867), facing p. 6. Ill. 461 [461]. (Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, t*1488, 2). See also letters 13, 123 and 139.
17. In The Hague’s artistic circles, Weissenbruch had been nicknamed ‘the merry tune’ because of his spontaneous, cheerful character and captivating narrative style (Van Gogh spells out the play on words by writing ‘Wijs’, meaning both ‘tune’ and ‘wise’, instead of ‘Weiss’). Apparently Weissenbruch often rolled his r’s, as also emerges from his saying, recounted in his obituary: ‘Because naturrrre... naturrre... naturrre is my preceptorrr!’ See G.H. R[össing], ‘Jan Hendrik Weissenbruch. Geb.: te ’s Gravenhage 19 juni 1824. Gest.: aldaar 24 maart 1903’, Eigen Haard 29 (4 April 1903), no. 14, pp. 216-222; regarding the ‘vroolijke Weiss’, see p. 216; the quotation is on p. 217. Cf. Laanstra and Ooms 1992, pp. 21-22.
18. Edouard Hamman.
19. Jan van Beers, ‘The evening hour’. Van Gogh had also sent a copy of this poem with letter 10; see also that letter, n. 10.