Letter from Frances Hodgkins to Dorothy Kate Richmond

02 Jul 1908
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02 Jul 1908
Pension Nulaander Rijsoord July 2nd
My dearest Dolla
Just a few lines to follow up my last rather despairing letter & to let you know that the tide has turned & that I shall pull through all right now. I think I have been tested to my utmost and this last six months has been a pretty thin time, the blackest of winters & springs. I am glad I have been able to hang on & keep my colours flying – it wld have been heart rending to give in just when things are in the balance. My people of course understand nothing at all about the difficulties of making a career or the uphill struggle there is for folk without money & without influence & my dear Mother clamours for my return. I have promised her I will go back next Spring, but she does not realise what it means to me but I feel I owe it to her & she is past 70 now & is beginning to feel the weight of years. It is no use grieving over the inevitable & I must just make the most of the time left to me to strengthen my position as much as I can. Gertrude Crompton has been with me for a fortnight. She is a very Rock of Ages, so strong & stedfast . I had decided to go back & stay with them in Yorkshire & try & beat up a sketching class there among their friends, trying first of all in London to sell my sketches for anything they would bring. Then came the joyful news that I had won this prize at the Franco British which filled my heart with new courage & I think that night , for the first time for many months I slept & waked without my pet Bogey Poverty sitting at the foot of my bed. I know quite well that I wouldn’t starve, one has too many kind friends for that. It is the dangerous havoc to ones nerves that is the trouble. Dear Grace had stocked me with paper & paint at the beginning of the winter so I did not feel pinched in that quarter. They have been bricks to me all along. At present they are all pretty occupied over the engagement of the youthful Una to an impecunious young Subaltern in India. They insist on marrying in August & no doubt will & continue here after to live on the bounty of the Nickalls for the young man has no money of his own apparently. Maud will be rather more of a prisoner at Wispers now and her friends won’t see as much of her as they would like. My Sketching Class has been an utter frost. So many big guns are teaching these days that there is small chance for the small fry. Holland, I am beginning to realise is not popular. People are prejudiced & the general impression is that the boys are rough & the food bad – which is partly true, but for the real artist I think it is a rare country. My mother begs me to go to Italy and leave this sad ugly country where there is no colour. My present intention is to stay here till my cheque comes in & then I will go to Katwyk on the coast near the Hague where there is an artists colony & get braced up with some good sea breezes. Here 2 English ladies & a Dutch lady may join me in August for lessons & if they do this I shall get along quite nicely. Towards Sept: all things prospering, I shall move South to Moret, not far from Paris, where G Crompton will pin on for a few weeks, & after that maybe I shall end up in Paris for the winter, that is if the Gods are kind & generous. I cannot face a big city with insufficient means – one must be comfortable. I should dearly love to get some oil lessons under a first rate man. That kind dry old stock Moffat has been a real trump to me & is going to introduce me to some of the right sort when I got to Town. I am so glad little Hal is better. Don’t pass this on to anyone. It can’t help matters to let people know I am not prospering. The Lindners have written to ask me to go over & stay with them & receive my prize in person. I wish I could manage it. I am sorry, so very sorry, you are not here to work with me. How brave & splendid you are! Thank you so much for the kind words about my piccys. You are the only one who has said a good word for them. I hope you are keeping well & strong & not overdoing it. Your loving Frances
4 pages
Sender's address
Pension Nulaander, Rijsoord
Institutional No.
Credit Line
Correspondence - Frances Hodgkins. Field, Isabel Jane, 1867-1950 : Correspondence of Frances Hodgkins and family / collected by Isabel Field. Ref: MS-Papers-0085-21. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.