My dear Theo,
Having heard from Pa that there’s a chance you’ll be coming to Etten this Sunday,1 and Pa having written to me that it would be good if I were there as well, I set out for there today.
So I hope to meet you soon, which I look forward to with great eagerness, also because I sketched two drawings at Rappard’s, ‘The lamp-bearers’ and ‘The bearers of the burden’,2 the further execution of which I wanted to discuss with you. To finish them I must, one way or another, have the necessary models, and then I’m confident that something good will come of them, namely a couple of compositions that I can show to Smeeton Tilly3 or the people from L’Illustration or suchlike.
So I’m leaving today and am telling you this lest you should perhaps look for me in Brussels. In Etten I’d like to make a few sketches on the heath, which is why I’m going a couple of days earlier.4
So I hope we see each other soon, and shake your hand in thought.

Yours truly,


Br. 1990: 164 | CL: 143
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: Brussels, Tuesday, 12 April 1881

1. Sunday, 17 April 1881 was Easter.
2. The drawing The lampbearers is not known; the other drawing is The bearers of the burden (F 832 / JH - [2330]).
3. The English engraver Burn Smeeton and the French wood engraver Auguste Tilly formed a partnership in Paris. Their work appeared in Le Magasin Pittoresque, L’Art, L’Illustration and The Illustrated London News. The last-mentioned magazine had published their portrait of Corot after Gilbert, which Van Gogh knew (see letter 30, n. 6). They signed ‘Smeeton Tilly sc.’ It is not clear whether Smeeton Tilly was still operating as an engraving business in the 1880s, but their work appeared in L’Illustration until 1884.
4. Cf. Landscape with a hut (F 842 / JH 5); see letter 167, n. 3. Landscape (F 874v / JH 3) and Hut (F 875 / JH 4) probably date from the Brussels period.