My dear friend Rappard.
I now have The Graphics in my possession. I sat looking at them until deep into the night.
I don’t know whether you know volumes 70-75, for example; perhaps you have them yourself in the batch you bought.
But assuming you don’t have them, you’ll certainly be delighted by those first years if you have an opportunity to see them.
I sincerely hope you have them in your batch, and otherwise I’ll write to you at length sometime, since there’s so much that’s important in them, pending your seeing them. And one way or another you must also get them for your collection.
For example, they contain a series of drawings from coal-mines by Ridley1 — done in a way that brings to mind etchings by Whistler or Seymour Haden.2 There are similar drawings, mainly of America, by Boyd Houghton.3 Up to now I thought of Boyd H. as not ALL THAT interesting. Also sketches by him from the days of the Commune, pétroleuses, a barricade &c.4
Herkomer is superb — today I saw several large prints for the first time, Old women’s home,5 old men’s home,6 cobbler,7 Skittle alley,8 Orphan men,9 Lodging house10 &c.
There are also Pinwells11 and Fred Walkers12 in those first years.
Then C. Green, Buckman, Brewtnal,13 Small, H. Woods,14 Macbeth,15 Gregory, various sketches of poor neighbourhoods &c.
|Frank Holl, the foundling, superb16
||I am the Resurrection and the life, „17
There you have 3 prints20 that I hadn’t seen in 10 years.
I come back to Boyd Houghton again — a Shaker or Mormon21 church, unbelievably real.
A few fine prints by Fildes.
Then large DU MAURIERS, sunny, and clear in the shade.22
Enough, you’ll understand that they contain riches.
I long so much to have some more information about your find. If you have London News from the period 70-75, I’d dearly like to know what the main contents are. I’m sure to have duplicates as a result of my new purchase.
I don’t know how I’ll do it. This Graphic series is in excellent condition, neatly bound. It’s almost a pity to undo it. But being
1v:3 able to arrange the prints so that the work of each draughtsman is brought together is also important.
Listen, old chap, if you have the old Graphic volumes in your batch, then you know all about it. But if not, then you’ll get a strong impression if you see them at my place sooner or later.
For me, looking through them brought back all the memories of London 10 years ago, when I first saw them, and they made such an impression on me that I’ve gone on thinking of them ever since, for instance the Foundling by Holl and the old wives by Herkomer.23
At the same time, though, I had a melancholy feeling when I saw such clear confirmation of the words of H. Herkomer that you sent to me some time ago, namely that the later Graphic issues, however fine sometimes, have in general declined a very, very long way.24
But the first!
I’m missing part of volume 70, but apart from that 70-80 complete. Altogether 21 volumes.
I’ll find that first volume as well, sometime.
But how are you? Do write soon, at length or in brief. And if you’re still weak sometimes, and would perhaps like to have a look at some of those early volumes at home, I could send them to you.
There’s something cheering and strengthening in those lively, vigorous, manly drawings as there is in old wine.
Adieu, with a handshake.