London, 19 Nov. 1873

My dear Theo,
I want to make sure that you hear from me soon after arriving in The Hague.1 I’m longing to hear your first impression of your new position and lodgings.2 I heard about the beautiful souvenir you got from Mr Schmidt, which just shows that you did very well indeed.3 I’m glad that we’re both working for the same firm now. Latterly we’ve had quite a few paintings and drawings and sold a lot of them, but we still have a long way to go, it has to become more solid and lasting and substantial. I believe that there’s still a lot  1v:2 to do here in England, but it can’t be done all at once, and of course the first thing we need is to have good paintings &c., and that will be quite a feat. Well, we have to see how it goes and do the best we can with the means at our disposal.
How are the nouveautés4 selling in Holland? Here there’s literally almost nothing to be done with the ordinary engravings after Brochart5 &c. The good burin engravings6 sell quite well; among other things we’ve already sold around 20 artist’s proofs of the Venus anadyomene after Ingres.7 But it’s a delight to see how the photos sell, especially the coloured ones,8 and they yield a handsome profit. The Musée Goupil & Cie photos we sell only en papillottes,9 around 100 a day on average. I imagine you’ll like working in the gallery in  1v:3 The Hague, once you’ve got used to it a little. I don’t doubt that your lodgings at the Rooses’ will be to your liking. You should walk a lot if you can find the time. Bid a very good-day from me to all the Rooses.
You must write and tell me which painters you like best, both the old and the new, you must be sure to do this, I’m curious to know.
You must in any case go to the museum often, it’s good to be acquainted with the old painters, too, and if you get the chance read about art, and especially magazines about art, the Gazette des Beaux-Arts10 &c.
When there’s an opportunity I’ll send you a book by Bürger about the museums of The Hague and Amsterdam;11 when you’ve finished it there will be an opportunity to send it back to me.
Ask Iterson to write to me if he has a moment, and in particular to send me a list of the painters who  1r:4 were awarded prizes at the Paris exhibition.12 Is Somerwil13 still with the firm, or has he left now that you’re coming?
Things are going all right for me here, I have a nice home, and even though the firm isn’t as exciting as the Hague branch, it’s perhaps good that I’m here, and later on especially, when the trade in paintings becomes a little more important, I’ll possibly be of use. And then, I can’t tell you how interesting it is to see London and the trade and the way of life here, which are so very different from ours.
You’ll have had some pleasant days at home;14 how much I’d like to see them all again too.
Tell everyone who asks after me that I bid them good-day, especially the Tersteegs, Haanebeeks, Aunt Fie,15 Van Stockums, and the Rooses, and give Betsy Tersteeg news of me sometime when she comes downstairs.16 And now, old chap, I wish you well. Write to me soon.


Do you have my room at the Rooses’, or the one you slept in last summer?


Br. 1990: 015 | CL: 12
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: London, Wednesday, 19 November 1873

1. Theo had arrived in The Hague on 12 November and had started work at Goupil’s, located at Plaats 14, on 17 November, though he had been sent out on a ‘commission’ as early as 13 November. See FR b2668 and b2673.
2. Theo boarded at the house of W.M. Roos, where Vincent had also lived.
a. Read: ‘did’.
3. When he left his position in Brussels, Theo received an excellent character reference from his superior, Tobias Victor Schmidt. This character reference, dated 4 November 1873, is preserved in the Van Gogh Museum (FR b1896) and was published in Verzamelde brieven 1973, vol. 4, p. 298, no. T43, where it was however incorrectly dated 14 November.
4. Goupil’s new prints and publications.
5. Goupil & Co. had numerous reproductions after Constant-Joseph Brochart in their list. In the autumn catalogue Publications nouvelles de la maison Goupil et compagnie of October 1873, four titles were announced as engravings in the category ‘Mezzo-tinte, aqua-tinta, manière noire’: Un nid sous les feuilles (A nest beneath the leaves), La leçon d’équitation (The riding lesson), La marée montante' (Rising tide) and Notre-Dame de Bon-Secours (Our Lady of Succour), the last of which was further described as ‘Suite aux six planches Départ, Retour et suite, cataloguées aux 40e, 41e, 43e suppléments’ (Series of six plates, Departure, Return etc., catalogued in the 40th, 41st, 43rd supplements).
6. As regards the ‘Gravures au burin’ on offer, see, among others, Cat. Boussod 1894, pp. 1-8.
7. Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Vénus anadyomène, 1848 (Chantilly, Musée Condé). This was published by Goupil & Co. as a burin engraving by Auguste Achille Morse, dated 1 October 1873 (London, Trustees of the British Museum). Ill. 1696 [1696]. ‘Epreuves d’artiste’ (artist’s proofs) are prints made to determine the suitability of paper, ink and printing; generally, however, the term is applied to the first prints found acceptable by the artist, which are said to be the best prints.
8. For the range of coloured works, including ‘Photogravures imprimées en couleur et fac-similé d’aquarelles’ (Photo-engravings printed in colour and facsimiles of watercolours): Cat. Boussod 1894, pp. 51-63.
9. The series Van Gogh refers to here are the largest photographs on the list. The designation en papillotes probably means that the photographs were sold in a paper wrapper or packaging, possibly with a view to increasing their suitability as Christmas presents.
b. Means: ‘lodgings’ (cf. also l. 49 and l. 82).
10. The Gazette des Beaux-Arts, an illustrated, general art magazine; it had been published since 1859.
11. Under the pseudonym W. Bürger, Etienne Joseph Théophile Thoré published a series of books, written in an accessible, personal style, which described public and private museum collections in Europe. Van Gogh owned the guides for the Netherlands: Musées de la Hollande. Amsterdam et La Haye (Paris 1858) and Musées de la Hollande, ii. Musée Van der Hoop à Amsterdam et Musée de Rotterdam (Paris 1860).
12. The prize-winning artists at the Salon were announced on 4 November 1873 in the Journal officiel. See exhib. cat. Paris 1874, pp. xii-xiii.
13. This is most likely a reference to Hendrik Somerwil, who evidently worked for Goupil & Co. in The Hague. On 26 August 1871 he had settled in The Hague, where he lived at Papestraat 16 (GAH, Civil registration).
14. Theo had spent the days between his departure from Brussels (5 November) and his arrival in The Hague (12 November) at his parents’ house in Helvoirt (FR b2672).
16. This might mean that Betsy Tersteeg, the daughter of H.G. Tersteeg, was ill. Mrs van Gogh wrote on 3 December 1874 to Theo: ‘fortunately Betsy Tersteeg is getting better’ (FR b2735).