1. Theo had arrived in The Hague on 12 November and had started work at Goupil’s, located at Plaats 14, on 17 November, though he had been sent out on a ‘commission’ as early as 13 November. See FR b2668 and b2673.
2. Theo boarded at the house of W.M. Roos, where Vincent had also lived.
a. Read: ‘did’.
3. When he left his position in Brussels, Theo received an excellent character reference from his superior, Tobias Victor Schmidt. This character reference, dated 4 November 1873, is preserved in the Van Gogh Museum (FR b1896) and was published in Verzamelde brieven 1973, vol. 4, p. 298, no. T43, where it was however incorrectly dated 14 November.
4. Goupil’s new prints and publications.
5. Goupil & Co. had numerous reproductions after Constant-Joseph Brochart in their list. In the autumn catalogue Publications nouvelles de la maison Goupil et compagnie of October 1873, four titles were announced as engravings in the category ‘Mezzo-tinte, aqua-tinta, manière noire’: Un nid sous les feuilles (A nest beneath the leaves), La leçon d’équitation (The riding lesson), La marée montante' (Rising tide) and Notre-Dame de Bon-Secours (Our Lady of Succour), the last of which was further described as ‘Suite aux six planches Départ, Retour et suite, cataloguées aux 40e, 41e, 43e suppléments’ (Series of six plates, Departure, Return etc., catalogued in the 40th, 41st, 43rd supplements).
6. As regards the ‘Gravures au burin’ on offer, see, among others, Cat. Boussod 1894, pp. 1-8.
7. Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Vénus anadyomène, 1848 (Chantilly, Musée Condé). This was published by Goupil & Co. as a burin engraving by Auguste Achille Morse, dated 1 October 1873 (London, Trustees of the British Museum). Ill. 1696 [1696]. ‘Epreuves d’artiste’ (artist’s proofs) are prints made to determine the suitability of paper, ink and printing; generally, however, the term is applied to the first prints found acceptable by the artist, which are said to be the best prints.
8. For the range of coloured works, including ‘Photogravures imprimées en couleur et fac-similé d’aquarelles’ (Photo-engravings printed in colour and facsimiles of watercolours): Cat. Boussod 1894, pp. 51-63.
9. The series Van Gogh refers to here are the largest photographs on the list. The designation en papillotes probably means that the photographs were sold in a paper wrapper or packaging, possibly with a view to increasing their suitability as Christmas presents.
b. Means: ‘lodgings’ (cf. also l. 49 and l. 82).
10. The Gazette des Beaux-Arts, an illustrated, general art magazine; it had been published since 1859.
11. Under the pseudonym W. Bürger, Etienne Joseph Théophile Thoré published a series of books, written in an accessible, personal style, which described public and private museum collections in Europe. Van Gogh owned the guides for the Netherlands: Musées de la Hollande. Amsterdam et La Haye (Paris 1858) and Musées de la Hollande, ii. Musée Van der Hoop à Amsterdam et Musée de Rotterdam (Paris 1860).
12. The prize-winning artists at the Salon were announced on 4 November 1873 in the Journal officiel. See exhib. cat. Paris 1874, pp. xii-xiii.
13. This is most likely a reference to Hendrik Somerwil, who evidently worked for Goupil & Co. in The Hague. On 26 August 1871 he had settled in The Hague, where he lived at Papestraat 16 (GAH, Civil registration).
14. Theo had spent the days between his departure from Brussels (5 November) and his arrival in The Hague (12 November) at his parents’ house in Helvoirt (FR b2672).
15. Sophia Cornelia Elisabeth Carbentus-Van Bemmel.
16. This might mean that Betsy Tersteeg, the daughter of H.G. Tersteeg, was ill. Mrs van Gogh wrote on 3 December 1874 to Theo: ‘fortunately Betsy Tersteeg is getting better’ (FR b2735).