My dear friend Rappard,
I heartily congratulate you on the silver medal you got in London.1 It’s a satisfaction to me that I said what I said about that painting at the time. And to have repeated it yet again recently, specifically in our conversation on that Friday when I said to you, ‘I found something in the colour of that painting, the Woman spinning, that seems to me better and more solid than what I’ve seen you paint here’.
All the same, the little weaver2 is an exception to this, as I also stipulated then.
Starting a painting in a low register and then seeking to raise it from low upward, I found that system in your woman spinning at the time — although it was a very original way of doing things. On that Friday I reminded you of your own words about that painting in one of your letters, ‘there are surprising forces in it’. And I sometimes missed those in your later work.
I look back on your visit with great pleasure, and I don’t doubt that the more you come here the more the scenery will attract you.  1v:2
Since you left I’ve been working on a Water mill — the one I asked about in that little inn at the station, where we sat talking with that man whom I told you seemed to suffer from a chronic shortage of small change in his pocket. It’s the same sort of thing as the two other water mills that we visited together, but with two red roofs, and which one views square on from the front — with poplars around it.3 Will be magnificent in the autumn.
Glad you sent off the books.4
Perhaps my brother Theo will come briefly at Whitsun, although not for longer and only if he sees a chance of getting some time off5 — he’ll be pleased, as we all are, that you’ve received an award.
Adieu — more soon, believe me, with a handshake

Yours truly,


Br. 1990: 451 | CL: R50
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Anthon van Rappard
Date: Nuenen, on or about Thursday, 29 May 1884

1. In May 1884 Van Rappard was awarded a silver medal at the International and Universal Exhibition in the Crystal Palace, London, which opened on 23 April, probably for his painting Old woman at the spinning wheel [330]. See for this painting: letter 344, n. 4; and exhib. cat. Amsterdam 1974, pp. 12, 86.
3. Going by the description this is Water mill (F 48a / JH 488 [2469]). The Collse Watermill was close to Nuenen/Tongelre Station at Eeneind. By ‘the two other watermills’ Van Gogh must have been referring to the Opwettense and Hooijdonkse mills in Nederwetten. See De Brouwer 1984, p. 106.
5. In 1884 Whitsun fell on 1 June; we know from letter 449 that Theo did indeed go to Nuenen.