The Strand lay in the heart of London, and Vincent van Gogh liked to come to this “nice bit of city” because of the range of book and art dealers based there. Goupil & Cie, where he worked, was located nearby. Walking around the area, Vincent often ran into people he knew, and he was able to indulge his passion for books and prints. Around the corner from the Strand was Bookseller’s Row, a group of small streets centred around Paternoster Row and Holywell Street.
The printer of The Illustrated London News and The Graphic had its display windows at 190 and 198 Strand, and Vincent went there each week to view the new issues. A decade later, after he had become an ardent collector of prints from the magazines, he wrote to a friend, the artist Anthon Gerhard Alexander van Rappard (1858–1892), about the impression the window displays had made on him:
“The impressions I gained there on the spot were so strong that the drawings have remained clear and bright in my mind, despite everything that has since gone through my head.” Read the complete letter