My dear friend Rappard.
I now have The Graphics in my possession. I sat looking at them until deep into the night.
I don’t know whether you know volumes 70-75, for example; perhaps you have them yourself in the batch you bought.
But assuming you don’t have them, you’ll certainly be delighted by those first years if you have an opportunity to see them.
I sincerely hope you have them in your batch, and otherwise I’ll write to you at length sometime, since there’s so much that’s important in them, pending your seeing them. And one way or another you must also get them for your collection.
For example, they contain a series of drawings from coal-mines by Ridley1 — done in a way that brings to mind etchings by Whistler or Seymour Haden.2 There are similar drawings, mainly of America, by Boyd Houghton.3 Up to now I thought of Boyd H. as not ALL THAT interesting. Also sketches by him from the days of the Commune, pétroleuses, a barricade &c.4
Herkomer is superb — today I saw several large prints for the first time, Old women’s home,5 old men’s home,6 cobbler,7 Skittle alley,8 Orphan men,9 Lodging house10 &c.
There are also Pinwells11 and Fred Walkers12 in those first years.  1v:2
Then C. Green, Buckman, Brewtnal,13 Small, H. Woods,14 Macbeth,15 Gregory, various sketches of poor neighbourhoods &c.
Frank Holl, the foundling, superb16
ditto   I am the Resurrection and the life, „17
ditto Railway station18
ditto Sight seeing19
There you have 3 prints20 that I hadn’t seen in 10 years.
I come back to Boyd Houghton again — a Shaker or Mormon21 church, unbelievably real.
A few fine prints by Fildes.
Then large DU MAURIERS, sunny, and clear in the shade.22
Enough, you’ll understand that they contain riches.
I long so much to have some more information about your find. If you have London News from the period 70-75, I’d dearly like to know what the main contents are. I’m sure to have duplicates as a result of my new purchase.
I don’t know how I’ll do it. This Graphic series is in excellent condition, neatly bound. It’s almost a pity to undo it. But being  1v:3 able to arrange the prints so that the work of each draughtsman is brought together is also important.
Listen, old chap, if you have the old Graphic volumes in your batch, then you know all about it. But if not, then you’ll get a strong impression if you see them at my place sooner or later.
For me, looking through them brought back all the memories of London 10 years ago, when I first saw them, and they made such an impression on me that I’ve gone on thinking of them ever since, for instance the Foundling by Holl and the old wives by Herkomer.23
At the same time, though, I had a melancholy feeling when I saw such clear confirmation of the words of H. Herkomer that you sent to me some time ago, namely that the later Graphic issues, however fine sometimes, have in general declined a very, very long way.24
But the first!  1r:4
I’m missing part of volume 70, but apart from that 70-80 complete. Altogether 21 volumes.
I’ll find that first volume as well, sometime.
But how are you? Do write soon, at length or in brief. And if you’re still weak sometimes, and would perhaps like to have a look at some of those early volumes at home, I could send them to you.
There’s something cheering and strengthening in those lively, vigorous, manly drawings as there is in old wine.
Adieu, with a handshake.

Ever yours,


Br. 1990: 304 | CL: R23
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Anthon van Rappard
Date: The Hague, on or about Saturday, 20 January 1883

1. Matthew White Ridley did the series Pits and pitmen for The Graphic in January-February 1871. The following six engravings from this series are in the estate: Section of the shafts and workings of a coal mine, in The Graphic 3 (28 January 1871), p. 76. Ill. 1279 [1279] (t*805); Pitmen hewing the coal, in The Graphic 3 (28 January 1871), p. 77. Ill. 2028 [2028] (t*122); Pits and pitmen – The night shift, in The Graphic 3 (4 February 1871), p. 108. Ill. 2029 [2029] (t*126); The men leaving the pit, in The Graphic 3 (11 February 1871). Ill. 2030 [2030] (t*124); The coal district, in The Graphic 3 (18 February 1871), p. 156. Ill. 2031 [2031] (t*127); and Coal whipping in the Pool, in The Graphic 3 (25 February 1871), p. 173. Ill. 2032 [2032] (t*125).
[1279] [2028] [2029] [2030] [2031] [2032]
2. The first etchings by James Whistler were made in 1858 in London at the house of Francis Seymour Haden, with whom he worked closely at that time. It is likely that Whistler adopted Haden’s etching methods. Cf. Katherine Lochnan, The etchings of James McNeill Whistler. New Haven and London 1984.
3. During the journey to America which Arthur Boyd Houghton undertook in 1869 for a commission for The Graphic, he did a number of illustrations for the series ‘Graphic America’, which appeared in The Graphic between March and July 1870. In later volumes separate prints were also published.
4. These are scenes from the revolutionary socialist regime in 1871; during the Commune ‘pétroleuses’ roamed through Paris starting fires. The estate has the following by Boyd Houghton: The courts martial at Versailles – Pétroleuses under trial, in The Graphic 4 (23 September 1871), p. 293. Ill. 969 [969] (t*850); The Paris mob – A barricade in Paris, in The Graphic 3 (8 April 1871), p. 313. Ill. 958 [958] (t*87); The Commune of death – Women of Montmartre, in The Graphic 3 (10 June 1871), p. 541. Ill. 968 [968] (t*100) and Paris under the Commune – Women’s club at the Boule Noire, Boulevard Rochechouart, in The Graphic 3 (3 June 1871), p. 520. Ill. 2033 [2033] (t*199).
[969] [958] [968] [2033]
5. In letter 304 Van Gogh writes that he has ‘the old wives by Herkomerfrom the 1876 volume in duplicate, so by his ‘title’ he seems to mean Christmas in a workhouse [166], in The Graphic 14 (25 December 1876) (letter 278, n. 13). However, Hubert von Herkomer’s Old age – A study at the Westminster Union, engraved by Eugène Froment, was likewise in The Graphic 15 (7 April 1877), pp. 324-325. Ill. 2034 [2034]. (This print had appeared in Harper’s Weekly 21 too (28 April 1877), pp. 328-329, with the title The evening of life – Scene in a London “work-house”.)
[166] [2034]
6. Probably Hubert von Herkomer’s The last muster (Sunday at Chelsea hospital / Chelsea pensioners) [171]: see letter 199, n. 12). This print showed the interior of the chapel; an engraving of a detail from it with two figures had appeared in The Graphic 11 (15 May 1875). In this list Van Gogh also mentions ‘Orphan men’, by which he may mean this print of a detail (see n. 9 below).
7. There is no shoemaker in any of the prints by Herkomer in The Graphic. Van Gogh may have made a slip of the pen, because as well as Violin makers Hubert von Herkomer made Zither makers, in The Graphic 5 (2 March 1872), p. 205, which Van Gogh had in his possession. Ill. 179 [179] (t*457). In the estate there is also Francis Montague Holl, Shoemaking at the philanthropic society’s farm school at Redhill, in The Graphic 5 (18 May 1872), p. 468 (t*96).
[461] [179]
8. Hubert von Herkomer, A “Kegelbahn” in the Bavarian Alps, in The Graphic 17 (6 April 1878), pp. 352-353. Ill. 172 [172].
9. Probably the print of a detail with two men after The last muster [171]. Van Gogh had already included an ‘old men’s home’ in this list earlier (see n. 6 above).
10. Hubert von Herkomer, Low lodging house St. Giles’s, in The Graphic Portfolio of 1877. Ill. 2035 [2035] (t*91). It is a reprint of the engraving in The Graphic 6 (10 August 1872), p. 124, Supplement.
11. In 1870-1875 three engravings after works by George John Pinwell appeared in The Graphic, namely The lost child in The Graphic 1 (8 January 1870), p. 132, London sketches – A country visitor in The Graphic 7 (22 February 1873), p. 177, and The sisters, engraved by Dalziel, in The Graphic 3 (6 May 1871), p. 416. The last of these is in the estate. Ill. 1218 [1218] (t*178).
[462] [463] [1218]
12. There was only one work by Frederick Walker in The Graphic in 1870-1875, namely The lost path, engraved by W. Thomas, in The Graphic 1 (25 December 1870), p. 85. Walker’s The harbour of refuge [1414], mentioned in letter 304, was in The Graphic in 1877. His The old gate [1908] (of 1876) was mentioned earlier: see letter 199, n. 10.
Thus there is a possibility that Van Gogh thought that the monogram ‘FSW’ – of Francis S. Walker – was that of Frederick Walker. Nine prints by this Francis appeared in the years 1870-1875: Irish sketches – How not to pay the rent, in The Graphic 1 (4 June 1870), p. 644; Irish sketches – Going to mass, in The Graphic 1 (11 June 1870), p. 657; Outside the poste restante at St. Denis – Letters from Paris, in The Graphic 3 (20 May 1871), p. 457 – this one is in the estate (t* 16); Women trying to see the prisoners at Versailles, in The Graphic 3 (24 June 1871), p. 589; Princess Louise and the Queen’s Prizeman – A sketch at Wimbledon, in The Graphic 4 (5 August 1871), p. 121; Cats and cat shows, in The Graphic 4 (2 December 1871), p. 529; A recent sketch in Sandringham churchyard, in The Graphic 5 (13 January 1872), p. 28; Rome – A sketch in the convent garden of Jesu e. Maria, in The Graphic 5 (4 May 1872), p. 420; and Henley-on-Thames regatta – Picnicking by the riverside, in The Graphic 5 (22 June 1872), p. 588.
[1414] [1908] [467] [469] [470] [471] [472] [473]
13. There are ten prints after Edward Frederick Brewtnal from The Graphic (1871-1873 and 1877) in the estate, including London sketches – The battle of the pavements, in The Graphic 15 (24 February 1877), p. 181 (t*582). Van Gogh misspells the name of the artist.
14. There are ten prints after Henry Woods in the estate, all from The Graphic (1871-1874).
15. There are fourteen prints after the work of Robert Walker Macbeth in the estate, all from The Graphic (1871-1877), including Our London poor, a tea to seven hundred tramps and beggars in Moorgate Street, in The Graphic 13 (15 January 1876), p. 61. Ill. 2036 [2036] (t*572).
16. Francis Montague Holl, London sketches – The foundling, in The Graphic 7 (26 April 1873), pp. 392-393. Ill. 943 [943].
17. Francis Montague Holl, I am the Resurrection and the Life, in The Graphic 6 (17 August 1872), pp. 148-149. Ill. 946 [946].
18. Francis Montague Holl, At a railway station – A study, in The Graphic 5 (10 February 1872), pp. 128-129. Ill. 950 [950].
19. Francis Montague Holl, Sight seeing – A study from nature at Mortlake, in The Graphic 5 (20 April 1872), pp. 368-369. Ill. 951 [951].
20. Van Gogh added ‘do Sight seeing’ later, without correcting the number of sheets, hence the discrepancy.
21. Arthur Boyd Houghton, Service in the Mormon tabernacle, Salt Lake City, in The Graphic 3 (2 September 1871), pp. 227-228. Ill. 962 [962].
22. For several of these large prints after George du Maurier, see letter 317.
a. Variant of ‘vondst’
b. Means: ‘toen’ (when).
24. For this reference to Herkomer’s article ‘Drawing and engraving on wood’, see letters 278 and 293.