Thanks for your last letter, and the enclosed 150 francs.
it is very difficult to get to see that English art which is
really the most interesting to you and me. Generally
most of the pictures in the exhibitions are not
I hope, however, that you will come across things here and
there which will make you understand. Now I for my part have
always remembered some English pictures such as “Chill
October” by Millais and, for instance, the drawings by
Fred. Walker and Pinwell. Just notice the Hobbema in the
National Gallery; you must not forget a few very beautiful
Constables there, including “Cornfield,” nor that
other one in South Kensington called “Valley
I am very curious to hear what struck you most, and what you
have seen there.
Last week I was in the fields every day during the harvest, of
which I made a composition.
I made this for somebody in Eindhoven who wants to decorate
a dining room [Hermans]. He intended to do this with
compositions of various saints. I begged him to consider
whether the appetite of the worthy people who would have to sit
down at that table would not be more stimulated by six
illustrations from peasant life in the Meierij [Manor
District], at the same time symbolizing the four seasons, than
by these mystical personages. And now, after a visit to my
studio, the man became quite enthusiastic about it.
But he wants to paint those panels himself, and will he be
able to do it? (But I should design and paint the compositions
on a reduced scale.)
He is a man with whom I want to remain on good terms - a
former goldsmith who has three times amassed a very important
collection of antiques and sold it again. He is rich now, and
has built himself a house that is again full of antiques, and
furnished with some very beautiful oaken chests, etc. He is
decorating the ceilings and walls himself, and really does it
well sometimes. But he positively wants “painting”
in the dining room, and has begun to paint twelve panels of
There are six panels left on the longest wall, and for these
I gave him preliminary sketches of a sower, ploughman,
shepherd, harvest, potato digging, ox wagon in the snow.
But I don't know whether it will come to anything, for I
have no definite arrangement with him.
But he is pleased with this first panel, as well as with my
sketches for the other subjects.
I long very much for your coming.
I am still pleased to be here; at times I do not miss some
things, but my work absorbs me sufficiently.
Well, remember me to Mr. O. [Obach] if you bump into
When you come here, you will find all the farmers ploughing
and sowing spurry, or they will have just finished doing
I have seen splendid sunsets over the fields of stubble.
Goodbye for now.
At this time, Vincent was 31 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written early August 1884 in Nuenen. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 374.
This letter may be freely used, in accordance with the terms of this site.