To Anthon van Rappard. The Hague, between about Friday, 23 and Monday, 26 February 1883.
My dear friend Rappard,
Thank you for your letter, which I had already been looking forward to. I’m not surprised, by the way, that you thought the sheets sent recently beautiful. I for one can hardly imagine anything more beautiful in woodcut than Harbour of refuge or Low lodging house.
Come soon and collect the remainder.
I know of no better way of determining which duplicates you have than for you to sort through them yourself, for listing the titles would be too laborious. But if you think you won’t be able to visit for the time being, and if you long to have them, I can make up a package with everything that I have in duplicate. I could send it to you and then you could keep what you don’t yet have and return the rest.
Be assured that if you would prefer that I’ll be only too pleased to do it.
I have a request for you, namely to give me the worst impression of the old women’s house by Herkomer (from the French illustrated magazine) that you already have. I have it myself, of course, but I have someone here for whom I want to make the beginnings of a collection, namely for the painter Van der Weele, the drawing teacher at the high school here. He’s made some 10 etchings himself — a little thin but still good — and at his studio I saw an excellent sketch of a ploughed field by evening and an outstanding small panel of hay-stacking which he has also etched. He’s someone who’ll become enthusiastic, I hope, and it may encourage him to press ahead vigorously with work in Black and White, whether in lithograph or etching or drawings.
With him in mind, I’d also like to ask you for other prints that you may have available in duplicate — I believe you still have the Gypsies by Régamey, for example.
I hope you’ll meet him when there’s an opportunity. He’s a fine chap. To make sure that I don’t give him prints that you don’t yet have, here’s a list of what I have ready for him:
Herkomer At death’s door
– Hunting field
Renouard The orphanage
Heilbuth By the water’s edge
This week I bought some parts of vol. of Illustr., Monde Ill. and Univers Ill.
I now have all six prints of The orphanage by Renouard in duplicate, and I list them here to make sure that you’re not missing any.
2 The crèche
3 The change .
4 Number 68.762
5 Going to the dining room and Time for porridge
6 Sheet with croquis of a rachitic child, a scrofulous child &c
If you don’t have any of these, I can send them to you. I hope to get a copy of Fildes, C. Dickens’ Empty chair for you. I’ve been promised it.
Herewith a sample of that paper for lithography. I’ve scribbled on it a little with lithographic crayon and autographic ink and scraper in an attempt to combine the different modes on one sample, not of course to suggest that you should normally overwork a drawing like this.
I scribbled this on a slip I had left and have no time to make a better one.
What can you see from this? First what kind of paper it is, second on which side you should draw, third that you can use all kinds of things on it — but the autographic ink isn’t to be trusted, sometimes it works very well in transferring, sometimes it runs (for the drawing is wetted when it’s laid face down on the grained stone and then pulled through the press until it’s transferred). So the ink can sometimes start to run again, and in that case you get a black cake instead of your drawing. Still, it can be done — and, above all, you can retouch in ink on the stone itself.
At the same time I’m sending you 2 samples of coarse paper that I believe is very good for mounting the woodcuts.
It sets them off well precisely because it’s so rough, and it has a most beautiful colour.
The changes to my studio have worked out very well. The light is now wonderful, am very happy with it.
I’ve finished mounting and cutting out The Graphic woodcuts. They look much better now that they’re arranged in order.
Do you know Dalziel as a draughtsman? I have a public house by him — something like the one by Green — very beautiful.
Well, my dear friend, perhaps I’ll write more soon. Wanted to send you the sample of lithographic paper without delay, but am busy. So regards, write again soon, and believe me
Have a splendid Giacomelli, a large print of a flight of crows. I know your fine Bodmer, Eagle owls, well, but haven’t got them. There must be a great deal that’s beautiful in those old volumes of illustrated magazines.