A sketch by John Constable sold for £869,000 at Bonhams Old Master Paintings sale in London today (8 December), setting a new world record at auction for a small-scale sketch (under 10 inches) by the artist. Flatford Lock on the Stour looking towards Bridge Cottage, a study by Constable for Landscape: Boys Fishing, had been estimated at £200,000-300,000.
The preparatory sketch, which had been in a private collection in the US for many years, was unknown to Constable scholars. Its re-emergence has been seen as a major contribution to establishing the genesis of the finished painting, Landscape: Boys Fishing, which is now in a poor state of preservation.
Bonhams Director of Old Master Painting, Andrew McKenzie said, "There was a huge amount of pre-sale interest in Flatford Lock on the Stour looking towards Bridge Cottage, reflected in an intense bidding war during the auction itself. Although the picture has undoubted art historical importance, it is first and foremost a beautiful painting – a Constable masterpiece in miniature – and I am not surprised that this exquisite work commanded such a high price."
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. Today, the auction house offers more sales than any of its rivals. The main salerooms are in London, New York and Hong Kong. Sales are also held in the UK in Knightsbridge and Edinburgh; in the US, in San Francisco and Los Angeles; in Europe, in Paris and Stuttgart and in Sydney, Australia. Bonhams also has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of forthcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit bonhams.com