Vincent van Gogh - View of Roofs and Backs of Houses 1886

View of Roofs and Backs of Houses 1886
View of Roofs and Backs of Houses
Oil on canvas 30.0 x 41.0 cm. Paris: Spring, 1886
Amsterdam: Van Gogh Museum

« previous picture | Paris - van Gogh's paintings | next picture »

The Letters of Vincent van Gogh

To Anthon van Rappard. The Hague, on or about Sunday, 22 October 1882.
My dear friend Rappard,
When I began collecting woodcuts I often regretted that I didn’t know who they were by if I couldn’t make head or tail of the monograms many English draughtsmen use.
Even now I don’t know everything, but do know a few, and a list of these may be of some use to you, although you may know them all.

WS – Small
cG – Charles Green (there’s also a T. Green)
MEE Miss Edwin Edwards
F.B. Buckman (you have the London dustyard by him)
F.W.L. Lawson
FH Frank Holl
HF Henry French
L.F. Fildes
RC. Caldecott
EJG Gregory
S.E.W. Waller
AL Lançon
EM Morin
JF Jules Ferat
A.H. Hopkins
H.H. Herkomer
GP Pinwell
W.B.M. Murray
F.W. Walker
M.W.R. Ridley
J.G. Gilbert
IM (IM) Mahoney (Household edition Dickens.Very beautiful)
HF Henry Furniss
SPH Sidney Hall
J.D.W. Watson
JB Barnard
JT Tenniel
CK Charles Keene
D.M. Du Maurier

But often you find the names in full.

I’m sure I’ve left some out, but these are the ones that come to mind at the moment.
In Harper’s Weekly there are beautiful things by Howard Pyle, Harper, Rogers, Abbey, Alexander among others; Caton Woodville, Overend, Nash, Dadd, Gregory, Watson, Staniland, Smythe, Hennessy, Emslie you no doubt know from the large drawings in The Graphic and London News. I have a nice thing by Small for you. He’s someone who’s astonishingly clever.
I don’t know whether you know Scribner’s Magazine and Harper’s Monthly Review, there are always highly distinguished things in them.
I have only a few of them at present since they’re quite expensive, and one hardly ever finds them second-hand. The British Workman and The Cottager and Artisan, both penny papers from the London Tract Society, sometimes have very tame things but sometimes strong, beautiful things.
I’d be very glad to hear more details about what you have, when the opportunity arises, for you’re bound to have some that I don’t have, and this whole subject interests me. I would like to see the portrait of Shakespeare by Menzel sooner or later.
Tell me, how are you getting on with your watercolours? I’ve again been very busy with that in the last few weeks, and also with types from the common people.
How beautiful it is outside – I sometimes yearn for a country where it would always be autumn, but then we’d have no snow and no apple blossom and no corn and stubble fields.
Please look and see whether you got a large wood engraving from me in the past, with no draughtsman’s name below it, depicting gentlemen and ladies riding in a park, I believe it’s the Empress of Austria in whose honour a hunting party or something is being given.

If you don’t have it — though I believe you already got it this summer — then I have it twice, for I found another one just a few days ago.
There’s also one by Knaus, a hunter giving his dog a piece of bread. Talking of landscapes, I’ve always liked Birket Foster and Read a lot, even if they’re regarded as old-fashioned.
Among other things by Read I have an autumnal effect and a moonlight and a snow which are very beautiful.
There’s a wide range of approaches to the English landscape. Foster bears little resemblance to Edwin Edwards, but both have their raison d’être. Wyllie and others with him are more colourists, or rather seek the tone more. Especially in Scribner’s Magazine and Harper’s Monthly there are very fine things more in Wyllie’s manner — small seascapes, snow effects &c., corners of a garden or street.
Routledges Sixpenny series includes, among others, Oliver Twist illustrated by J. Mahoney, which I highly recommend to you, and Story of a feather illustrated by Du Maurier and Curtain lectures by C. Keene. But in Punch there are better ones by them. Du Maurier is very reminiscent of Menzel, especially in some of his large compositions.
In Belgium at one time, Félicien Rops and Degroux, among others, drew beautiful types in a magazine called Uylenspiegel which I once had and would dearly like to have again, but alas can no longer find. There were things in it, by Degroux especially, that were as beautiful as Israëls.
Well, old chap, I must get to work. I wanted to send you the list of monograms before I misplaced it again. Adieu, do write soon. Believe me
Ever yours,