van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
London, 13 September 1873

Dear Theo,

In my letter to Uncle Hein I enclose a little note for you. I wonder if you were in Helvoirt for Mother's birthday and how you enjoyed it.

Did you get my letter and the lithograph after Weissenbruch which I put in the box with the pictures? Oh! Old man, I so want that you come here to see my new lodgings, the one I have already spoken about to you. I now have a bedroom such as I always longed for, without a sloping ceiling and without blue wallpaper with green fringes. I lodge with some charming people now; they keep a school for little boys.

One Saturday some time ago, I went boating on the Thames, in the company of two Englishmen. It was glorious.

Yesterday I saw an exhibition of Belgian art, where I noticed many of the same pictures that were at the Brussels exhibition. There were several beautiful things by Alb. and Julien de Vriendt, Cluysenaer, Wauters, Coosemans, Gabriel, De Schampheleer, etc. Have you ever seen anything by Terlinden? If so, tell me about it. It was a real pleasure to see those Belgian pictures; the English ones are with a few exceptions very bad and uninteresting. Some time ago I saw one which represented a kind of fish or dragon, six yards long. It was awful. And then a little man, who came to kill the above-mentioned dragon. I think the whole represented “The Archangel Michael, Killing Satan.”

Adieu, boy, best wishes and write soon,


Another English picture is “Satan Possessing the Herd of Swine at the Lake of Gadarena.” It represented about fifty black pigs and swine running helter-skelter down the mountain, and skipping over one another into the sea. But there was a very clever picture by Prinsep.

Thanks for what you wrote me about the pictures. That picture by Millet must have been splendid. À Dieu, I will write soon again.

At this time, Vincent was 20 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 13 September 1873 in London. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 011.

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