Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (7 October 1876) ... weeping
willows beside the Thames.
Tomorrow I shall get for the second time some small salary
for my new work, and with it buy a pair of new boots and a new
hat. And then, with God's will, I shall go fitted out
In the London streets they sell scented violets everywhere,
they flower here twice a year. I bought some for Mrs. Jones to
make her forget the pipe I smoke now and then, especially late
in the evening on the playground, but the tobacco here has a
touch of gloom about it.
Letters from his Parents to Theo van Gogh (1879) ... looks well, except for his
clothes. Pa immediately gave him his cherished new jacket. We
bought him a pair of boots, and he now wears the little summer
coat that I made for Pa's birthday every day. Some of your old
underwear came in useful too, and as far as stockings, etc.,
are concerned, I had prepared them in advance, so that now he
is quite well taken care of. He is reading books by Dickens all
day long, and does not speak apart from giving answers -
sometimes correct, sometimes strange ones; if only he adopted
the good things from these books. For the rest, about his work,
about the past or the future, not a word…Tomorrow, he
and Pa will go to Prinsenhage, where CM's boys will come to see
the paintings; they are going by train. Pa and Vincent will go
on foot, maybe he will talk a little bit then.
From Reverend Van Gogh to Theo
11 March 1880
Vincent is still here - but alas! it is nothing but worry.
Now he is talking about going to London in order...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (July 1880) ... It is a pity that people take that amiss.
You know, for example, that I have often neglected my
appearance. I admit it, and I also admit that it is `shocking.'
But look here, lack of money and poverty have something to do
with it too, as well as a profound disillusionment, and
besides, it is sometimes a good way of ensuring the solitude
you need, of concentrating more or less on whatever study you
are immersed in. One essential study is that of medicine. There
is scarcely anybody who does not try to acquire some knowledge
of it, who does not at least try to grasp what it is about (and
you see, I still know absolutely nothing about it). And all
these things absorb you, preoccupy you, set you dreaming,
musing and thinking.
Now for the past five years or so, I don't know how long
exactly, I have been more or less without permanent employment,
wandering from pillar to post. You will say, ever since such
and such a time you have been going downhill, you have been
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to His Parents (16 February 1881) ... I must tell you another thing that I have done. As I
told you, about a month ago I bought a pair of trousers and a
coat, secondhand. It turned out so well that I bought another
coat and pair of trousers from the same man. It's true that the
first suit would have been quite sufficient, but it is much
better to have two suits because they last longer when one can
alternate them. Enclosed is a sample of the material. And I
also had to replenish my underwear with three pairs of drawers,
and paid 2.75 fr. apiece for them; besides, I bought a pair of
shoes for 4 fr. The things I bought were really not
superfluous. But altogether they have made a big hole in this
month's money, and I shall have to stint myself in consequence,
especially as I paid 5 fr. to that painter in advance for the
Do not worry about these expenses, however, and do not
accuse me of extravagance, for really the contrary is rather my
fault of character, and if I could spend more, I should get on