I had just gone out to the printer's when I met the postman,
who gave me your letter. My heartfelt thanks for your proposal,
which I shall write about in a minute. First I want to tell you
that I am working on my fourth stone, and am sending you
herewith the impressions of the three you don't have. I shall
have to retouch two of them, namely the “Digger” [F
1656, JH 262] and the “Coffee Drinker.”
1 The latter was much more striking as a drawing;
You may remember the drawing “Worn out” [F 864,
JH 051]; I did it all over again the other day - actually three
separate times, with two models - and I am going to toil on it
a lot more. For the present I have one which will be the
subject of the fifth stone; it shows an old workman sitting
lost in thought, his elbows on his knees, and his hands
clasping his head (this time with a bald crown).2 [F
997, JH 267; F 1662, JH 268; F 998, JH 269]. I'm telling you
all this about the lithographs in order to show you that I'm
very keen on it, and consequently that your proposal about the
money that was lost is most welcome.
The letter has not been found yet, and it contained a
50-franc note. But let's wait a bit for the present; the matter
is being investigated. I told the man at the printer's of this
catastrophe, and so far he has been sufficiently well disposed
toward me not to press me for payment of the cost of the
stones. For that matter, the stones are in his possession, so
he isn't running any risk, or hardly any.
So about your offer - in case of need I shall gladly accept;
it means a backing for me, and I can now venture to take a few
more steps, but perhaps it will not be necessary, because the
letter may still turn up. But it is most certainly an
incitement to redouble my efforts, and to prove to you that I
am working away at it rather strenuously. I drew the Digger in
twelve different poses, and I am still trying to find something
better. He is a marvellously fine model, a true veteran
Last Sunday Van der Weele, the painter who teaches drawing
at the secondary school here, came to see me; he saw the
various drawings of the orphan-men and urgently advised
me to make a large composition of them - which I think
premature, however. I want to make still more studies; the
“Coffee Drinker” is one of them.
Enclosed is a wood engraving after Frank Hol. That reminds
me of the lot of magazines you have bought. I congratulate you
on getting them; `70 - `72 is exactly - at least primarily -
the great period of the English artists. At the time Black and
White was flourishing and in its full vigour. I think there
must be splendid things among them.
I'll tell you why it means so much to me to push on with the
lithographs so vigorously. If I can manage to get a number of
good stones together (there is sure to be a failure once in a
while), I will be able to apply for work - for instance, in
England too. It stands to reason that one has a better chance
to succeed if one can show some work at the same time - for
instance, by sending copies of lithographs - than if one tries
to get results with words alone.
Sending drawings is inadvisable, as they can easily be lost.
This new process enables me to work for a lithographic printing
office at a distance without having to send the stones
themselves. I bought a new kind of ink and a new kind of crayon
[Kopal crayon], today. My present address is 136,
Schenkweg. I shall be glad to have your opinion of the copies
I'm sending you. If it is possible for me to correct any
faults, I shall be glad to do so. Yet one must be careful once
it is drawn, for then one no longer has full control. I think
you'll rather like the new “Worn Out” - tomorrow I
hope to attack the lithograph of it.
Well, my page is full now - although I have written only
about professional matters, don't think that I'm not concerned
about your illness. On the contrary, I worry all the more when
I remember how I caught cold too last summer, and had a rather
high fever, and - and - however, I hope with all my heart that
it isn't the same with you. However this may be, I most
sincerely wish you a speedy recovery, and believe me, with a
Ever yours, Vincent
See letter 246 to Theo, 22 November 1882
See letter 247 to Theo, 24 November 1882.
At this time, Vincent was 29 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Anthon van Rappard. Written 26 November 1882 in The Hague. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number R18.
This letter may be freely used, in accordance with the terms of this site.