London, 13 June 1873.

My dear Theo,
You’re probably longing to hear from me,1 so I don’t want to keep you waiting for a letter any longer.
I heard from home that you’re now staying with Mr Schmidt, and that Pa has been to see you. I sincerely hope that this will be more to your liking than your previous boarding-house, and don’t doubt that it will be.2 Write to me soon, I’m longing to hear from you, and tell me how you’re  1v:2 spending your days at present, &c. Write to me especially about the paintings you’ve seen recently, and also whether anything new has been published in the way of etchings or lithographs. You must keep me well informed about this, because here I don’t see much in that genre, as the firm here is just a stockroom.3
I’m very well, considering the circumstances.
I’ve come by a boarding-house that suits me very well for the present.4 There are also three Germans in the house who really love music and play piano and sing themselves, which makes the evenings  1v:3 very pleasant indeed. I’m not as busy here as I was in The Hague, as I only have to be in the office from 9 in the morning until 6 in the evening, and on Saturdays I’m finished by 4 o’clock. I live in one of the suburbs of London, where it’s comparatively quiet. It’s a bit like Tilburg5 or some such place.
I spent some very pleasant days in Paris and, as you can imagine, very much enjoyed all the beautiful things I saw at the exhibition6 and in the Louvre and the Luxembourg.7 The Paris branch is splendid, and much larger than I’d imagined. Especially the Place de l’Opéra.8
Life here is very expensive. I pay  1r:4 18 shillings a week for my lodgings, not including the washing, and then I still have to eat in town.9
Last Sunday I went on an outing with Mr Obach, my superior,10 to Box Hill, which is a high hill (some 6 hours from L.),11 partly of chalk and covered with box trees, and on one side a wood of tall oak trees. The countryside here is magnificent, completely different from Holland or Belgium. Everywhere one sees splendid parks with tall trees and shrubs, where one is allowed to walk. During the Whitsun holiday12 I also took a nice trip with those Germans, but those gentlemen spend a great deal of money and I shan’t go out with them any more.
I was glad to hear from Pa that Uncle H. is reasonably well. Would you give my warm regards to him and Aunt13 and give them news of me? Bid good-day to Mr Schmidt and Eduard from me,14 and write to me soon. Adieu, I wish you well.


My address is:
Care of Messrs Goupil & Co.
17 Southampton Street


Br. 1990: 009 | CL: 9
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: London, Friday, 13 June 1873

1. Van Gogh had started working – presumably on Monday, 19 May or shortly thereafter – at Goupil’s London branch.
2. Tobias Victor Schmidt lived in the Goupil building in Brussels: 58 rue Montagne de la Cour (Hofbergstraat). In a draft of the biographical introduction to her edition of the letters (Brieven 1914), Jo van Gogh-Bonger wrote: ‘[Theo] lived in the house of a minister, which Pa found very safe ─ but it was dirty and dismal and he felt so alone and unhappy, he slept alone in the attic, where he was so afraid. He was still so young (15) but he never wrote home about it and bore it well, until finally, when he couldn’t stand it any longer, Schmidt asked him to come and live with him. Then everything was much more pleasant and enjoyable ─ in that young bachelor’s household, because Schmidt wasn’t married and Theo prepared their breakfast in the morning and fared very well’ (FR b3262). It is not impossible that there was some connection between Theo’s dissatisfaction with his lodgings and the circumstances of Reverend Van den Brink’s family, to which a daughter, Catharina Alberta, had been born shortly before this time who was long sickly and eventually died in August (FR b2660 and SAB).
3. Regarding Goupil’s London branch, see letter 5, n. 7.
4. The address of Van Gogh’s boarding-house is not known.
5. From September 1866 until March 1868, Van Gogh had attended the Hogere Burger School (High School) in Tilburg, a city in the province of North Brabant.
6. What is meant is the Salon, the annual exhibition of Living Masters, which had opened on 5 May 1873 in the Palais des Champs-Elysées.
7. The collections of the Musée du Louvre and of the Living Masters in the then Musée du Luxembourg, located to the east of the Palais du Luxembourg (in 1937 this museum was closed and the collection was removed to the Musée d’art moderne; a large part of this collection is now kept in the Musée d’Orsay).
8. Goupil & Co. had three galleries in Paris, one at rue Chaptal 9, one at boulevard Montmartre 19 and a branch at place de l’Opéra 2.
9. At first Van Gogh earned £ 90 a year (the average exchange rate was a little over 12 guilders to the pound, which amounted to an annual salary of 1,090 guilders), but, as Mr van Gogh wrote to Theo, ‘he still has to live frugally owing to the great hardship there; the boarding-house and his midday meal cost him 890 guilders a year’ (FR b2639, 2 July 1873).
10. The German Charles Obach, director of Goupil & Co. in London. Van Gogh went on this outing with Obach and his family on Sunday, 8 June (FR b2634).
11. Box Hill is near Dorking in Surrey, to the south-west of London, and could be reached by train. The ‘6 hours’ that Van Gogh talks about here is the time it took to walk that distance.
12. That year Whit Sunday and Monday fell on 1 and 2 June.
13. Uncle Hein and Aunt Mietje in Brussels.