van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
London, 20 July 1873

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Dear Theo,

Thanks for your letter, which was very welcome. I am glad you are doing well and that you like living with Mr. Schmidt, Mr. Obach was very pleased to have met you. I hope that in the future we shall do much business with each other. That picture of Linder's is very beautiful.

As to the photo engravings, I have never seen them being made; I know a little about how they are done, but not enough to explain.

At first English art did not appeal to me; one must get used to it. But there are clever painters here, among others, Millais, who has painted: “The Huguenot,” “Ophelia,” etc., of which I think you know the engravings; his things are beautiful. Then there is Boughton, whose “Puritans Going to Church” is in our Galerie Photographique; I have seen wonderful things by him. Among the old painters, Constable was a landscape painter who lived about thirty years ago; he is splendid - his work reminds me of Diaz and Daubigny. Then there are Reynolds and Gainsborough, whose forte was very beautiful ladies' portraits, and Turner, whose engravings you must have seen.

Some good French painters live here, including Tissot, of whose work there are several photographs in our Galerie Photographique; and Otto Weber and Heilbuth. The latter is at present painting exquisitely beautiful pictures in the manner of Linder.

Sometime you must write me if there are any photographs of Wauters's work other than “Hugo Van der Goes” and “Mary of Burgundy,” and if you know about any photographs of pictures by Lagye and De Braekeleer. I don't mean the elder Braekeleer, but, I think, a son of his who had three beautiful pictures called “Antwerp,” “The School” and “The Atlas” at the last exhibition in Brussels.

I am quite contented here; I walk a lot and the neighborhood where I live is quiet, pleasant and fresh - I was really very lucky to find it.

Thanks for what you wrote me about pictures. If you happen to see anything by Lagye, De Braekeleer, Wauters, Maris, Tissot, George Saal, Jundt, Zeim, or Mauve, you must not forget to tell me; those are the painters I am very fond of, and whose work you will probably see something of.

Enclosed is a copy of the poem about the painter who “entered `The Swan,' the inn where he was lodging,” which I am sure you remember. It is typical Brabant, and I am fond of it. L. copied it for me the last evening I was home 1.

How I should like to have you here. What pleasant days we spent together at The Hague; I think so often of that walk on the Rijswijk road, when we drank milk at the mill after the rain. When we send back the pictures we have from you, I will send you a picture of that mill by Weissenbruch; perhaps you remember him, his nickname is Merry Weiss. That Rijswijk road holds memories for me which are perhaps the most beautiful I have. If we meet again, maybe we shall talk about them once more.

And now, boy, I wish you well. Think of me from time to time and write me soon, it is such a delight to get a letter.


  1. Lies, an abbreviation for their sister Elisabeth.

At this time, Vincent was 20 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 20 July 1873 in London. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 010.

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