One of Vincent's favourite places in Nuenen was the old church tower that stood just outside the village. He painted and drew the fifteenth-century tower dozens of times, for instance in The Old Tower at Dusk, The Old Tower at Nuenen with a Ploughman, De oude kerktoren (“The Old Church Tower”), and The Old Church Tower at Nuenen. The tower could be seen from the parsonage’s back garden and appears in some works depicting it, although Vincent often put the structure in the wrong place.
While Vincent was still living in The Hague in 1883, his brother Theo wrote to him about his parents’ new home and mentioned the tower. Vincent replied:
“What you say about their new surroundings is most interesting. I certainly would like to try doing that kind of old church and churchyard with sandy graves and old wooden crosses.” Read the complete letter
The tower was demolished in 1885. On 2 June of that year, Vincent wrote in dismay:
“The old tower is being pulled down next week! The spire’s already off ” Read the complete letter
Vincent painted The Old Church Tower at Nuenen of the tower without its spire. He also painted a watercolour, Sale of Building Scrap. The cemetery beside the tower remained in use, and Vincent's father was buried there in 1895.