Vincent van Gogh had got to know Harry Gladwell (1857–1927) in Paris while working for Goupil there in 1875. Although he considered Harry an odd fellow at first, the two eventually became close friends. Harry’s father, Henry William Gladwell, had a gallery at 20–21 Gracechurch Street in London. When Vincent moved to Ramsgate and then Isleworth after his stint in Paris, Harry went to see him. Vincent, in turn, visited the Gladwells’ gallery and the family home, even spending a night there. On 18 August 1876, he wrote about going to the Gladwells’:
“Yesterday I went to see Gladwell,who’s home for a few days. Something very sad happened to his family: his sister, a girl full of life, with dark eyes and hair, 17 years old, fell from her horse while riding on Blackheath. She was unconscious when they picked her up, and died 5 hours later without regaining consciousness. I went there as soon as I heard what had happened and that Gladwell was at home. I left here yesterday morning at 11 o’clock, and had a long walk to Lewisham, the road went from one end of London to the other. At 5 o’clock I was at Gladwell’s. I’d gone to their gallery first, but it was closed.”
Vincent walked a long way to visit his friend: Lewisham by way of the gallery was 30 kilometres from Isleworth.