1. Theo’s visit to Vincent must have taken place on 2, 3 or 4 August; at all events before the weekend of 5-6 August. There is no external evidence to establish the exact date.
2. In view of the substantial purchase of artists’ materials mentioned later, Theo must have given Vincent a generous amount of extra money during his visit.
3. The fact that Van Gogh uses the English words ‘moist colour box’ here, and also refers to ‘cerulean blue’ in letter 257, indicates that he had bought a watercolour box made in England. Cf. for possible models the chapter ‘Les boîtes de couleurs’ in Cassagne’s Traité d’aquarelle (Cassagne 1875, pp. 3-14).
a. Means: ‘een grote uitgave’ (expensive).
4. By ‘proper painting’ Van Gogh means ‘real’ painting, in oils.
b. Read: ‘behoort te’ (ought to).
5. Van Gogh put down the names of the colours in his sketch of the palette (see Sketches).
6. In the following letter Van Gogh wrote about the frame in more detail. For the earlier version of the perspective frame, see letter 235, n. 10. It had wires stretched horizontally and vertically; with the new version it was possible to have diagonals as well. Letter sketch B shows how Van Gogh used it.
7. For a similar gibe at academic studios, see letter 246.
8. For this expression, which was invented by Theo, see letter 196, n. 1.
9. This is the renowned firm of J. Smulders & Co., ‘Paper dealers and Lithographers, Publishers of Maps’, located at Spuistraat 55. The warehouse was at Laan 3 (both addresses are in the centre of The Hague; Laan then ran from Grote Markt to Assendelftstraat.) It is not clear whether the printing works was also at Laan 3. See S. de Vries, 125 jaar vakmanschap. The Hague 1969; Visser 1973, pp. 12-13 (ill.); and Adresboek 1882-1883.
10. A quire consists of 24 or 25 folded sheets of paper.
11. Theo, who had visited his parents before going to The Hague, went to see them again after leaving and visited their new address (cf. letter 259); they were in the middle of moving at this time. On 7 August they were officially registered as living in Nuenen. The ‘special matters’ that ‘as agreed’ Vincent would no longer discuss evidently included the fact that he was living with Sien: it was to be six months before she was mentioned again (see letter 301).