My dear friend Rappard,
When I began collecting woodcuts I often regretted that I didn’t know who they were by if I couldn’t make head or tail of the monograms many English draughtsmen use.
Even now I don’t know everything, but do know a few, and a list of these may be of some use to you, although you may know them all.

But often you find the names in full.

I’m sure I’ve left some out, but these are the ones that come to mind at the moment.
In Harper’s Weekly there are beautiful things by Howard Pyle, Harper,18 Rogers,19 Abbey,20 Alexander21 among others; Caton Woodville, Overend,22 Nash,23 Dadd, Gregory, Watson, Staniland, Smythe,24 Hennessy,25 Emslie26 you no doubt know from the large drawings in The Graphic and London News.  1v:2
I have a nice thing by Small for you. He’s someone who’s astonishingly clever.
I don’t know whether you know Scribner’s Magazine and Harper’s Monthly Review,27 there are always highly distinguished things in them.
I have only a few of them at present since they’re quite expensive, and one hardly ever finds them second-hand. The British Workman and The Cottager and Artisan, both penny papers from the London Tract Society, sometimes have very tame things but sometimes strong, beautiful things.28
I’d be very glad to hear more details about what you have, when the opportunity arises, for you’re bound to have some that I don’t have, and this whole subject interests me. I would like to see the portrait of Shakespeare by Menzel sooner or later.29
Tell me, how are you getting on with your watercolours? I’ve again been very busy with that in the last few weeks, and also with types from the common people.
How beautiful it is outside – I sometimes yearn for a country where it would always be autumn, but then we’d have no snow and no apple blossom and no corn and stubble fields.
Please look and see whether you got a large wood engraving from me in the past, with no draughtsman’s name below it, depicting gentlemen and ladies riding in a park, I believe it’s the Empress of Austria in whose honour a hunting party or something is being given.30
If you don’t have it — though I believe you already got it this summer — then I have it twice, for I found another one just a few days ago.
There’s also one by Knaus, a hunter giving his dog a piece of bread.31  1v:3
Talking of landscapes, I’ve always liked Birket Foster and Read a lot, even if they’re regarded as old-fashioned.
Among other things by Read I have an autumnal effect and a moonlight and a snow which are very beautiful.32
There’s a wide range of approaches to the English landscape. Foster bears little resemblance to Edwin Edwards,33 but both have their raison d’être. Wyllie and others with him are more colourists, or rather seek the tone more. Especially in Scribner’s Magazine and Harper’s Monthly there are very fine things more in Wyllie’s manner — small seascapes, snow effects &c., corners of a garden or street.34
Routledges Sixpenny series includes, among others, Oliver Twist illustrated by J. Mahoney, which I highly recommend to you, and Story of a feather illustrated by Du Maurier and Curtain lectures by C. Keene. But in Punch there are better ones by them.35 Du Maurier is very reminiscent of Menzel, especially in some of his large compositions.
In Belgium at one time, Félicien Rops and Degroux, among others, drew beautiful types in a magazine called Uylenspiegel which I once had and would dearly like to have again,36 but alas can no longer find. There were things in it, by Degroux especially, that were as beautiful as Israëls.37
Well, old chap, I must get to work. I wanted to send you the list of monograms before I misplaced it again. Adieu, do write soon. Believe me

Ever yours,


Br. 1990: 277 | CL: R15
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Anthon van Rappard
Date: The Hague, on or about Sunday, 22 October 1882

2. Mary Ellen Edwards. On occasion Van Gogh mixed her up with the etcher mentioned later in the letter, Edwin Edwards (see n. 33 below); and indeed he does so here. He may have thought that her surname was ‘Edwin Edwards’ (cf. letter 317).
3. The estate has 24 prints by William Bazett Murray: 17 are from The Graphic 1873-1876, six from The Illustrated London News 1873-1881, and one from L’Univers Illustré 1881.
5. Edwin Buckman, A London dustyard, in The Illustrated London News, 62 (1 March 1873), p. 193. Ill. 658 [658].
6. The estate has four prints after the work of Francis Wilfred Lawson, all from The Graphic (1870-1877).
7. The estate has 11 prints after the work of Matthew White Ridley, ten from The Graphic 1871-1876, and one from The Illustrated London News 1872.
8. The estate has one wood engraving after a painting by Sir John Gilbert. It is an illustration to ‘Evangeline’ by H.W. Longfellow, with below it the text: ‘Father of twenty children was he, and more than a hundred / Children’s children rode on his knee, and heard his great watch tick’, in The Graphic 11 (6 March 1875), p. 217.
9. Henry French provided 20 illustrations for Dickens’s Hard times in the Household Edition.
11. James Mahoney illustrated Dickens’s Oliver Twist, Little Dorrit and Our mutual friend in the Household Edition: letter 261, n. 9. The estate has a sheet with four Sketches in the West of Ireland, in The Illustrated London News (20 February 1847), p. 116 (t*591).
12. The estate has three prints after the work of Randolph Caldecott: What’s in a name? and If you don’t happen are from Punch (12 December 1879); the source of An innocent offender has not been established. Joseph Swain is named as the engraver on the last two.
[394] [395]
13. The estate has 26 prints by Harry Furniss, all from The Illustrated London News 1880-1882 and from Punch 1881.
14. The estate has four prints after the work of Sydney Prior Hall; two were engraved by Horace Harral. They are all from The Graphic 1871-1879.
15. The estate has one print after the work of Samuel Edmund Waller engraved by Horace Harral, The last guest, the morning after the party, in The Graphic 12 (25 December 1875), p. 19 (t*378).
16. John Dawson Watson worked for both The Illustrated London News and The Graphic in the 1870s. The estate has no prints after or by him.
17. The estate has five prints after the work of Jules Descartes Ferat: two from L’Illustration (1875 and 1881), one from L’Univers Illustré (1882) and two from a French magazine (source not traced).
18. The fact that William St John Harper did illustrations for Harper’s Weekly is evident from among other things the prints Tenement-house life in New York – Mayor Grace’s tour of inspection, in Harper’s Weekly 25 (15 October 1881), p. 696 and Shutting off the Croton at the Central Park reservoir, in Harper’s Weekly 25 (12 November 1881) p. 761; the latter is the only print by Harper in the estate (t*412).
[397] [398]
19. Numerous illustrations by William Allen Rogers may be found in the magazine, including The president’s room, in Harper’s Weekly 25 (23 July 1881), no. 1283, pp. 504-505. The estate has two prints after Rogers: Milk and its adulteration – An early morning inspection, in Harper’s Weekly 26 (25 March 1882), p. 185. Ill. 1984 [1984] (t*362), and several illustrations for ‘“Lawing” in the North woods’, in Harper’s Weekly 26 (18 November 1882), p. 725, but these are from a later date than the letter (t*249).
[399] [1984]
20. Edwin Austin Abbey contributed from the 1870s; cf. for example Harper’s Weekly 26 (7 January 1882) and see letter 295. The estate has no prints after Abbey.
21. The estate has six prints after John White Alexander from Harper’s Weekly 25 and 26 (1881-1882): Excursions of five points children and their mothers, Henry W. Longfellow, In the old French market, New Orleans, Peter Cooper, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Thurlow weed (t*320; t*695; t*319; t*700; t*699 and t*704).
[402] [404] [405] [406]
22. The estate has eight prints after William H. Overend, six from The Illustrated London News 1880, and one from 1883; one print, On the right course, is from The Cottager and Artisan (t*366); cf. n. 28 below.
23. The estate has 13 engravings after the work of Joseph Nash Jr, the son of Joseph Nash; they are all from The Graphic (1874-1878).
24. Lionel Percy Smythe contributed drawings which were wood engraved in The Illustrated London News and in Harper’s Weekly in the 1870s. The estate has no prints after Smythe.
25. The estate has 12 prints after the work of William John Hennessy: 11 from The Graphic (1872-1878) and one from The Illustrated London News (1873).
26. The estate has five prints after the work of Alfred Edward Emslie: two from The Illustrated London News of 1881, and two from 1883; and an engraving from L’Univers Illustré (1881).
27. Scribner’s Monthly Magazine. An Illustrated Magazine for the People (1870-1881, subsequently The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine) and Harper’s New Monthly Magazine (1850-current) were leading American magazines, especially in the field of illustration. See American literary magazines. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Ed. E.E. Chielens. New York etc. 1984, pp. 364-369, 166-171.
28. The Religious Tract Society (1799) was responsible for the distribution and publication of religious literature, including the monthly The British Workman and the Friends of Toil (1855-1921), which was published by S.W. Partridge and Co. The magazine, with social, moral and religious teachings, was aimed at the proletariat. The Cottager and Artisan, a related magazine containing instructive and useful reading for the working classes, was published by The Religious Tract Society. Both cost 1 penny in 1880-1882. See Peter Roger Mountjoy, ‘Thomas Bywater Smithies; editor of the British Workman’, Victorian Periodicals Review 18-2 (1985), pp. 46-56; and Gleeson White, English illustration. ‘The sixties’: 1855-70. London 1906, p. 81.
The estate has one print from each magazine (the date has not been established): The man in the well, possibly by William Ralston (British Workman; t*331) and On the right course by William H. Overend (The Cottager; t*366).
30. Van Gogh means a hunting scene with Elizabeth Amalie Eugenie Wittelsbach, Empress of Austria, who married Franz Joseph i of Austria in 1854. The print in question has not been traced.
31. A print after Ludwig Knaus, Jagdfrühstück (Hunter’s breakfast) 1867 (present whereabouts unknown). Gustav Adolf Closs did an engraving after this work under the title Un déjeuner d’amis (Friends at lunch) it was offered by the French newspaper Le Citoyen (Paris, BNF, Cabinet des Estampes). Ill. 1013 [1013].
32. Van Gogh knew several engravings from The Illustrated London News of 21 December 1872 (see letter 359), so by ‘A moonlight’ he probably means Deserted by Samuel Read, in The Illustrated London News 61 (21 December 1872), p. 604 (Ill. 1243 [1243]). Other examples include Woodleigh Grange, in The Illustrated London News, Christmas number 1880, p. 29 (Ill. 1985 [1985]) and Christmas reflections in The Illustrated London News (London, Witt Library; the source has not been traced). Ill. 1986 [1986].
‘A snow’ could be Cold without – The passer-by, in The Illustrated London News 27 (22 December 1855), p. 744. (Ill. 1244 [1244]). Numerous landscapes by David Charles Read are also known.
[1243] [1985] [1986] [1244]
33. The works by Edwin Edwards in the estate are an engraving of a road in the woods and a view of a town on a river, both with the legend Fac-simile d’une eau-forte d’Edwin Edwards (Facsimile of an etching by Edwin Edwards), (t*63 and t*634). Ill. 1987 [1987] and Ill. 1988 [1988].
[1987] [1988]
34. The magazines mentioned contain other examples of the genres cited by Van Gogh which are sometimes also à la William Lionel Wyllie. In Scribner’s Monthly 20 (1880): a seascape (p. 568), a garden (p. 645) and street scenes (pp. 646-649).
35. The Sixpenny Series, a series of literary works published by George Routledge of London, began in February 1882 with Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. In 1882 28 volumes were added to the series; after that it was ended. The books have some 64 to 80 pages on average, which are closely printed, and each volume has between 40 and 300 illustrations. Dickens’s Oliver Twist appeared between 1 and 15 June 1882 as number 11, with illustrations by James Mahoney.
Van Gogh’s list makes it seem as if the two works by Jerrold (Curtain lectures and Story of a feather) were also included in the ‘Sixpenny Series’, but this was not the case. They were put on the market by Bradbury & Evans in 1882 priced at sixpence. Mrs. Caudle’s curtain lectures appeared between 16 and 28 February and contained 60 illustrations by Charles Keene and a portrait by Douglas Jerrold. Story of a feather was published between 1 and 15 March and had 70 illustrations by George du Maurier. See The Publishers’ Circular and General Record of British and Foreign Literature. London 1882 (vol. 44), no. 1074, p. 537, with the addition: ‘Author’s copyright edition’; and nos. 1067-1068, pp. 199, 248; cf. Ch.W. Topp, Victorian yellowbacks & paperbacks 1849-1905. Denver 1993, vol. 1 ‘George Routledge’, pp. 321, 329.
36. For Charles Degroux, Rops and Uylenspiegel, see letter 277.
37. Cf. in this connection the lithographs Sur le pavé (On the street) (Ill. 1989 [1989]) and Les métiers désagréables (Unpleasant professions), (Ill. 1990 [1990]) in Uylenspiegel 2 (8 February 1857), no. 2, p. 6 and Uylenspiegel 2 (31 May 1857), no. 18, p. 5 (Brussels, Royal Library).
[1989] [1990]