My dear Theo,
Many happy returns of the day.1
It really was important news in your last letter — and I think you’ll be glad that the situation has at least become clearer.2
Am really looking forward to your next letter.
As regards the work, I’m doing a fairly large painting of a weaver — the loom straight on from the front — the little figure a dark little silhouette against the white wall.3 And at the same time also the one I started in the winter, a loom on which a piece of red cloth is being woven — there the loom is seen from the side.4 I’ve also started on two others of effects on the heath.5  1v:2
And a thing with Pollard birches.6
I’ll have a lot more hard graft on those looms — but in reality the things are such almighty beautiful affairs — all that old oak against a greyish wall — that I certainly believe it’s right that they should be painted. We must make sure that we get them so that the colour and tone match with other Dutch paintings, though. I hope to start on two more of weavers soon, where the figure will appear very differently, that’s to say where the weaver isn’t sitting behind it but is arranging the threads for the cloth.7 I’ve seen them weaving by lamplight in the evening, which creates very Rembrandtesque effects. Nowadays they have a sort of hanging lamp — but I’ve  1v:3 just got a little lamp from a weaver

like the one in The evening by Millet,8 for instance. This is what they used to work by.
I recently also saw coloured pieces woven in the evening — where I’ll take you sometime should you come here. When I saw it, they were also just arranging the threads, so dark, bowed figures against the light, which stood out against the colour of the piece. Great shadows cast on the white walls by the laths and beams of the loom.
Regards — do write soon if you can.

Yours truly,


Br. 1990: 448 | CL: 367
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: Nuenen, Wednesday, 30 April 1884

1. Theo was 27 on 1 May 1884.
2. This remark must refer to the payment of Theo’s share in the profits for 1883 at Boussod, Valadon & Cie. From the ‘Compte de Monsieur Van Gogh’ (Mr van Gogh’s account) it emerges that he was paid the sum of 8226.80 francs on 21 April 1884 (FR b2124). Normally Theo received advances plus extra ‘remittances’ over and above them; cf. in this connection for the year 1889: Account book 2002, p. 41. See also letter 479, n. 2.
3. Most probably Weaver (F 30 / JH 479 [2467]), which is indeed ‘fairly large’: it measures 70 x 85 cm. Later Van Gogh had it photographed: see letters 463 and 465.
4. Weaver and a spinning wheel (F 29 / JH 471 [2462]), discussed in letter 440.
5. We do not know which two paintings of ‘effects on the heath’ he is referring to here.
6. Landscape with pollard birches (F 31 / JH 477 [2466]).
7. This plan probably resulted in the paintings Weaver arranging threads (F 35 / JH 478) and Weaver arranging threads (F 32 / JH 480).
8. See for the engraving after Jean-François Millet, La veillée [1682] (Evening) from the series The four times of the day, which Van Gogh owned: letter 37, n. 16. The painting was at the Sale Gavet at Hôtel Drouot which Van Gogh had been to in 1875: see letter 36, n. 5. The lamp casting light on the family in this scene bears some resemblance to the sketched model.