To Anthon van Rappard. The Hague, on or about Tuesday, 20 February 1883.
My dear friend Rappard,
About a week ago I sent you a small roll of woodcuts with a letter enclosed. Did you receive them?
Since then I’ve taken The Graphic apart.
There’s one overriding reason that made it desirable to do so.
Going through 21 volumes is a chore that takes too much time. They naturally contain a great deal to which I’m completely indifferent and which is thus dead weight.
Another point is that I think it desirable to have the work of, say, Small or Herkomer, of Green or Frank Holl, together instead of dispersed between things that absolutely do not go with them. Now it’s possible to view the whole in a few hours, if one takes out only the best and most distinctive sheets. And one doesn’t have to spend a long time searching for a particular sheet that one needs.
So I did it. And I’ve already sorted what I took out — but haven’t yet mounted them. The bindings of the 21 volumes can now serve as portfolios, and I’ll complete the collection of The Graphic woodcuts with all the others I have.
It’s a lot of work but still a cheerful task — for I count myself lucky to have something so pleasing in the studio for good.
Naturally, there are quite a few duplicates available.
I have another job on my hands, namely, that I’ve started a sort of battle with my landlord to obtain various privileges. Namely changes to the studio. So that I get better light and a big, sturdy cupboard for drawings, portfolios, prints and books.
This battle is all the more difficult because I don’t pay the full rent but already have the house relatively cheaply. And so, of course, it wasn’t easy to get anything done. Nonetheless, I’ve just come to an agreement with him whereby I’ve got at least some of the privileges. He’s having some trouble letting his houses, and what I asked for was wood that he didn’t need soon anyway.
Well, it’s a step forwards, because the studio will be much better. Anyway, I’m glad I tackled him. I got the idea of starting the battle with him while reading Fritz Reuter’s ‘Uit mijn gevangenis’. You may well know the book, which describes delightfully how Fritz R. and others serving fortress sentences got the ‘field officer’ to do things for them. Speaking of Fritz Reuter, don’t you think his character Bräsig in Gedroogde kruiden is superb? — and his Hawermann. I think it’s as fine as Knaus and Vautier.
Lately I’ve been working on large figures (busts, or rather to the knees) with which I intend to decorate the wall beside the stairs. 6 pieces on cardboard in black and white.
If you come sometime, it will be easier to look through the woodcuts. You’ll be interested, for example, in the Boyd Houghtons, Mormons, Indians, a few London sketches and several prints of Paris during the Commune, a total of 30 perhaps. And a few large compositions, Emigrants and Mormon worship.
I now have 7 large prints by Du Maurier — first of all Souvenir of Dieppe, the finest of them all — you know that one already — the others are Musical rehearsal — Rival grandpas
and Before dinner — from The Graphic portfolio — Battledore and shuttlecock, Sketch in the monkeyhouse16 and Cricket match. There is, though, a large ladies’ boarding school
that I do not have, probably among the very first nos. of The Graphic.
I’ve never seen any other large compositions by him, however. That series is by Du Maurier and Miss Edw. Edwards (MEE), and the latter has some prints in it that are almost as fine as the ones by Du Maurier himself.
Do you know JD Linton (monogram JDL)? A band of women (during the Commune) by him is superb. Jewish synagogue, Tower &c. are also most striking. But you’ll greatly enjoy the C. Greens — large prints, among them a hospital, benches full of patients, which is excellent.
I’m just writing because in the roll I sent there was a letter (in which I thanked you for what you sent &c.), which isn’t actually allowed, and this could be the reason why it wasn’t delivered.
Are you making progress with your recovery? And are you already back at work? Adieu, write soon.
I received your roll but no letter.