My dear friend Rappard,
About a week ago I sent you a small roll of woodcuts with a letter enclosed. Did you receive them?
Since then I’ve taken The Graphic apart.
There’s one overriding reason that made it desirable to do so.
Going through 21 volumes is a chore that takes too much time. They naturally contain a great deal to which I’m completely indifferent and which is thus dead weight.
Another point is that I think it desirable to have the work of, say, Small or Herkomer, of Green or Frank Holl, together instead of dispersed between things that absolutely do not go with them. Now it’s possible to view the whole in a few hours, if one takes out only the best and most distinctive sheets. And one doesn’t have to spend a long time searching for a particular sheet that one needs.
So I did it. And I’ve already sorted what I took out — but haven’t yet mounted them.  1v:2 The bindings of the 21 volumes can now serve as portfolios, and I’ll complete the collection of The Graphic woodcuts with all the others I have.
It’s a lot of work but still a cheerful task — for I count myself lucky to have something so pleasing in the studio for good.
Naturally, there are quite a few duplicates available.
I have another job on my hands, namely, that I’ve started a sort of battle with my landlord1 to obtain various privileges. Namely changes to the studio. So that I get better light and a big, sturdy cupboard for drawings, portfolios, prints and books.
This battle is all the more difficult because I don’t pay the full rent but already have the house relatively cheaply. And so, of course, it wasn’t easy to get anything done. Nonetheless, I’ve just come to an agreement with him whereby I’ve got at least some of the privileges.  1v:3 He’s having some trouble letting his houses, and what I asked for was wood that he didn’t need soon anyway.
Well, it’s a step forwards, because the studio will be much better. Anyway, I’m glad I tackled him. I got the idea of starting the battle with him while reading Fritz Reuter’s ‘Uit mijn gevangenis’. You may well know the book, which describes delightfully how Fritz R. and others serving fortress sentences got the ‘field officer’ to do things for them.2 Speaking of Fritz Reuter, don’t you think his character Bräsig in Gedroogde kruiden is superb? — and his Hawermann.3 I think it’s as fine as Knaus and Vautier.
Lately I’ve been working on large figures (busts, or rather to the knees) with which I intend to decorate the wall beside the stairs. 6 pieces on cardboard in black and white.4
If you come sometime, it will be easier to look through the woodcuts. You’ll be interested, for example, in the Boyd Houghtons, Mormons,5 Indians,6 a few London sketches7 and several prints of Paris during the Commune,8 a total of 30 perhaps. And a few large compositions, Emigrants9 and Mormon worship.10
I now have 7 large prints by Du Maurier — first of all Souvenir of Dieppe,11 the finest of them all — you know that one already — the others are Musical rehearsal12Rival grandpas13 and Before dinner14 — from The Graphic portfolio — Battledore and shuttlecock,15 Sketch in the monkeyhouse16 and Cricket match.17  1r:4
There is, though, a large ladies’ boarding school that I do not have, probably among the very first nos. of The Graphic.18
I’ve never seen any other large compositions by him, however. That series is by Du Maurier and Miss Edw. Edwards (MEE),19 and the latter has some prints in it that are almost as fine as the ones by Du Maurier himself.
Do you know JD Linton (monogram JDL)? A band of women (during the Commune) by him is superb.20 Jewish synagogue,21 Tower22 &c. are also most striking. But you’ll greatly enjoy the C. Greens — large prints, among them a hospital, benches full of patients, which is excellent.23
I’m just writing because in the roll I sent there was a letter (in which I thanked you for what you sent &c.), which isn’t actually allowed, and this could be the reason why it wasn’t delivered.
Are you making progress with your recovery? And are you already back at work? Adieu, write soon.
I received your roll but no letter.

Ever yours,


Br. 1990: 319 | CL: R27
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Anthon van Rappard
Date: The Hague, on or about Tuesday, 20 February 1883

a. Means: ‘doorslaggevende’ (overriding).
2. For Fritz Reuter, Ut mine Festungstid, see letter 306, n. 6. The passages about the privileges in the prison are in the Dutch translation Herinneringen uit mijne gevangenissen, chapters 7-11. The main character plays the prison authorities off against each other and bribes them with tobacco and other things.
A fortress sentence is a punishment consisting of confinement to a fortress; a plaatsmajoor is a non-commanding field officer in a fortress carrying out administrative duties.
3. Ut mine Stromtid (1862-1864) – translated into Dutch as Herinneringen uit mijne leerjaren op het land (During my apprenticeship) (Leiden 1866, 3 vols.) – appeared under the general title of Gedroogde kruiden (Dried plants, originally Olle Kamellen). The fifth, revised edition with a foreword by Eliza Laurillard was published in Leiden in 1883. In this novel of social realism various characters are portrayed in a humorous fashion, and both the oppressed peasants at the beginning of the century and the landowners during the Revolution are featured. Bräsig is a generous and outspoken eccentric who jokingly criticizes social wrongs. Hawermann remains a noble-hearted figure, despite many setbacks. Cf. Kurt Batt, ‘Ut mine Stromtid’, in Fritz Reuter. Leben und Werk. Gesammelte Werke und Briefe. Rostock 1967, vol. 9, pp. 302-332.
4. It is not known which drawings these are. But cf. in this connection the drawing Old man with a cap (F 1019 / JH 311).
5. In addition to the Mormon church mentioned (see n. 10 below), Boyd Houghton depicted other scenes with Mormons, such as A Mormon family on their way to Salt Lake City, in The Graphic 4 (4 November 1871), p. 448 (Ill. 2067 [2067]), and the sheet Among the Mormons, in The Graphic 4 (8 July 1871), p. 41. Both are in the estate, t*102 en t*842 respectively.
6. For Houghton’s ‘Indians’, see letter 305, n. 10.
7. Arthur Boyd Houghton’s contributions to The Graphic dealt with the Franco-Prussian War (and the Commune), and with America and London; an example from the latter category is Sketches in London – Before the bar, in The Graphic 5 (11 May 1872), p. 440. Ill. 964 [964] (t*99).
9. Arthur Boyd Houghton, Steerage emigrants, in The Graphic 1 (19 March 1870), p. 365. Ill. 2068 [2068]. Van Gogh earlier mentioned a cabin on board an emigrant ship; see letter 304, n. 55.
11. George du Maurier, Souvenir de Dieppe (Souvenir of Dieppe), engraved by Joseph Swain, in Musée Universel 5 (1877), deuxième sémestre, pp. 120-121. This print and the five mentioned after it are in the estate. Ill. 1129 [1129] (t*109).
12. George du Maurier, A musical rehearsal, in The Graphic 6 (14 September 1872), p. 241. Ill. 1130 [1130] (t*111).
13. George du Maurier, The rival grandpas and grandmas, in The Graphic 4 (5 August 1871), p. 137. A reprint of this appeared in The Graphic Portfolio of 1877. Ill. 1131 [1131] (t*110).
14. George du Maurier, Before dinner – The march past, engraved by Horace Harral, in The Graphic Portfolio of 1871. This is a reprint of the illustration in the Christmas issue of The Graphic 4 (25 December 1871), p. 10. Ill. 1125 [1125] (t*447).
15. George du Maurier, Battledore and shuttlecock, in The Graphic 4 (13 May 1871), p. 437. The engraving belongs with a poem by Alfred Perceval Graves. Ill. 1124 [1124] (t*113).
16. George du Maurier, The Darwinian theory – A sketch in the monkey-house of the zoological gardens, engraved by Horace Harral, in The Graphic 4 (8 July 1871), p. 33. Ill. 1132 [1132] (t*112).
17. George du Maurier, The Eton and Harrow cricket match at Lord’s – “The lookers on”, engraved by Horace Harral, in The Graphic 4 (22 July 1871), p. 77. Ill. 1126 [1126].
18. Van Gogh suspects that Ladies’ boarding school comes from one of the first issues of The Graphic, but no print of this subject by Du Maurier has been found in the volumes for 1869-1873. He did contribute A generic difference (1876) and The school-room as it ought to be (1879), no source (London, Witt Library), but they are relatively small prints, so Van Gogh cannot mean them. Still they probably give some idea of the type of scene (Ill. 1127 [1127] and Ill. 2069 [2069]).
[1127] [2069]
19. Van Gogh more than once confuses Mary Ellen Edwards, who is meant here, with the etcher Edwin Edwards.
20. James Dromgole Linton, The women of Paris, in The Graphic 3 (29 April 1871), p. 384. There is one copy in the estate. Ill. 1064 [1064] (t*84).
21. James Dromgole Linton, The feast of tabernacles at the North London synagogue – The reader taking the palm branch, engraved by Horace Harral, in The Graphic 6 (2 November 1872), p. 407. There is one copy in the estate. Ill. 1065 [1065] (t*5).
22. James Dromgole Linton, Delivering the keys of the Tower to the New Constable, in The Graphic 5 (20 January 1872), p. 49. There is one copy in the estate. Ill. 1066 [1066] (t*288).