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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Anthon van Rappard
The Hague, c. 29 October 1882

Amice Rappard,

When I began collecting wood engravings, I was often annoyed by the fact that I could not make out the meaning of the monograms which many English black-and-white artists use.

Even now I don't know what all of them stand for, but at least I am acquainted with some of them, and a list of them will possibly be of some use to you, though perhaps you know them all.

W S

Small

A. H.

Hopkins

C G

Charles Green

(there is also a T. Green)

H. H.

Herkomer

M E E

Miss Edwin Edwards

G P

?

F. B.

Buckmann

(you have his “London Dustyard”)

W. B. M.

Murray

F. W. L.

Lawson

F. W.

Walker

F. H.

Frank Hol

M W R

Ridley

H F

Henry French

J. G.

Gilbert

L. F.

Fildes

I M (M)

Mahoney (Household Edition Dickens - very beautiful)

R C.

Caldecott

H F

Henry Furness

E J G

Gregory

S P H

Sidney Hall

SEW

Waller

J D W

J. B.

J. T.

Watson

Barnat

Tenniel

But often one finds these names in full

A. L.

Lançon

C. K.

Charles Keene

M

Morin

D. M.

du Maurier

J F

Jules Ferat

I am sure I've skipped some of them, but these are the ones I remember at the moment.

In Harper's Weekly there are beautiful things by Howard Pyle, Harper, Rogers, Abbey, Alexander and others.

I am sure you know Caton Woodville, Overend, Nash, Dodd, Gregory, Watson, Stamland [Staniland?], Smythe, Hennessy, Emslie from their large drawings in the Graphic and the London News.

I also have a very nice thing by Small; this man is amazingly clever.

I don't know whether you know Scribner's magazine and Harper's Monthly Review; there are always very distinguished things in them.

For the present I have only a few of them, as they are rather expensive and one hardly ever finds secondhand copies.

The British Workman and the Cottage and Artisan, both penny papers of the London Tract Society, sometimes have very tame things, but at other times, robust, beautiful things too.

As soon as you have the time, I should like to hear more particulars about what you have, for you are sure to have some things that I do not possess, and I am interested in everything relating to the subject. I should like to see the portrait of Shakespeare by Menzel sooner or later.

Just tell me, how are your watercolours getting on? These last few weeks I have been working hard on mine; also types from the people.

How beautiful it is out-of-doors; sometimes I long for a country where it is always autumn, but then we should not have snow and apple blossoms, and no wheat and fields of stubble.

Please check whether at any time you received from me a large wood engraving, unsigned by the artist, representing ladies and gentlemen on horseback in a park; I think it is the Empress of Austria, in whose honour a hunting party or something of the kind is being given. If you haven't got it - although I believe you received it last summer - I have a duplicate of it here, for I found another one recently.

Also one by Knaus - a hunter giving a piece of bread to his dog.

Speaking of landscapes, I've always liked Birket Forster and Read, even though they're considered old-fashioned. Among the Reads I have an “Autumn Effect” and a “Moonlight Scene” and a “Snow Effect,” which are very beautiful.

English landscape painting is very divergent in conception. Forster is very little like Edwin Edwards, but both styles have their raison d'être. Wyllie and others with him are more especially colourists, or rather they seek more after tone. Particularly in Scribner's magazine and Harper's Monthly there are very fine things rather in Wyllie's manner - little marines, snow effects, etc., nooks of streets and gardens.

In Routledge's Sixpenny Series there is among other things Oliver Twist, illustrated by J. Mahoney, which I strongly recommend to you; and also the Story of a Feather, illustrated by du Maurier; and Certain Lectures, with drawings by Ch. Keene - but he has nicer ones in Punch. Du Maurier is rather like Menzel, especially in some of his large compositions.

At one time Félicien Rops and De Groux did among other things some beautiful types in Belgium, in a magazine called Uilenspiegel [Owlglass], which I used to have, which I should be extremely glad to have again, but which, alas, I can't find. There were things in it by De Groux particularly, which were as beautiful as Israëls.

Well, old fellow, I must get back to my work; I wanted to send you the list of monograms before I lost it again. Adieu, write again soon, and believe me,

Ever yours, Vincent


At this time, Vincent was 29 year old
Source:
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Anthon van Rappard. Written c. 29 October 1882 in The Hague. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number R15.
URL: http://webexhibits.org/vangogh/letter/11/R15.htm.

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