To Theo van Gogh. London, Sunday, 20 July 1873.
My dear Theo,
Thanks for your letter, which gave me a great deal of pleasure. I’m glad you’re well and that living at Mr Schmidt’s is still to your liking. Mr Obach was pleased to make your acquaintance. I hope that in future we’ll do a lot of business with you. That painting by Linder is very beautiful.
As to the photogravure, I know more or less how they’re made, though I haven’t seen it, and it isn’t clear enough to me to explain it.
English art didn’t appeal to me much at first, one has to get used to it. There are some good painters here, though, including Millais, who made ‘The Huguenot’, Ophelia, &c., engravings of which you probably know,4 they’re very beautiful. Then Boughton, of whom you know the ‘Puritans going to church’ in our Galerie photographique. I’ve seen very beautiful things by him. Moreover, among the old painters, Constable, a landscape painter who lived around 30 years ago, whose work is splendid, something like Diaz and Daubigny. And Reynolds and Gainsborough, who mostly painted very, very beautiful portraits of women, and then Turner, after whom you’ll probably have seen engravings.
Several good French painters live here, including Tissot, after whom there are various photos in our Galerie photographique, Otto Weber and Heilbuth. The latter is currently making dazzlingly beautiful paintings in the style of the one by Linder.
Be sure, when you get the chance, to write and tell me whether there are photographs after Wauters, besides Hugo van der Goes and Mary of Burgundy, and whether you also know photographs of paintings by Lagye and De Braekeleer.It’s not the elder De Braekeleer I mean but, I believe, a son of his, who had 3 splendid paintings at the last exhibition in Brussels, titled ‘Antwerp’, ‘The school’ and ‘The atlas’.
Things are going well for me here. I go walking a lot. Here where I live it’s a quiet, convivial, nice-looking neighbourhood, in this I’ve really been fortunate. And yet I sometimes think back with nostalgia to the wonderful Sundays in Scheveningen and so on, but never mind that.
You’ll surely have heard that Anna is at home and not well. It’s a bad start to her holiday, but let’s hope she’s better by now. Thanks for what you wrote to me about paintings. Be sure to write and tell me if you ever see anything by Lagye, De Braekeleer, Wauters, Maris, Tissot, George Saal, Jundt, Ziem, Mauve, who are painters I like very much, and by whom you’ll probably see something now and then.
Herewith a copy of that poem about that painter ‘who entered The Swan, the inn where he boarded’, which you no doubt remember. It’s Brabant to a T, and I’m so fond of it. Lies copied it out for me on my last evening at home. How much I’d like to have you here, what pleasant days we spent together in The Hague. I still think so often of our walk on Rijswijkseweg, where we drank milk at the mill after the rain.15 If those paintings we have from you are to be sent back, I’ll send you a portrait of that mill by Weissenbruch. Perhaps you remember, ‘the merry tune’ is his nickname, ‘I say, superrrb’. That Rijswijkseweg holds memories for me which are perhaps the most delightful I have. Perhaps we’ll speak of it again sometime when we meet.
And now, old chap, I wish you well, think of me from time to time and write to me soon. It’s so refreshing when I receive a letter.
My regards to Mr Schmidt and Eduard. How are Uncle Hein and Aunt? Write to me about them, do you go there often? Give them my warm regards.