John Constable (1776-1837) 1776 View near Dedham, c.1803 32.5 x 44cm (12¾ x 17¼in).

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Lot 60
John Constable (1776-1837) 1776 View near Dedham, c.1803 32.5 x 44cm (12¾ x 17¼in).

Sold for £ 22,325 (US$ 27,585) inc. premium
John Constable (1776-1837) 1776
View near Dedham, c.1803
Oil on canvas,
32.5 x 44cm (12¾ x 17¼in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance: Miss Isabel Constable (the artist's daughter); by descent to her nephew Clifford Constable; sold for 43 guineas on 23 June 1894, lot 56; with Leggatt Bros; with Spink & Son; the collection of J P Heseltine; Christie's, 10 November 1995; private collection.

    John Constable was born in 1776 in East Bergholt, Suffolk. His father owned flour mills and Constable was expected to follow him into the family business. However, he showed a youthful enthusiasm for painting and drawing, and with the early encouragement of friends, his parents relented, and in 1800, at the age of 23, he left Suffolk to study at the Royal Academy in London. In his first exhibition in the summer of 1802, he compared his work with other landscapes on show, and resolved to make studies directly from nature, rather than copy the style of other painters. Over the next few years, he made various tours of England, working and developing his own style and interests. He spent part of each year at home in Suffolk, completing commissions to maintain an income, as well as sketching extensively throughout the surrounding countryside for himself. He is known to have been in East Bergholt in the spring of 1801, from June to October in 1802, for four months again in the summer of 1803, and for a period of some weeks in the early summer of 1804.

    This particular subject has been authenticated by Graham Reynolds, formerly Keeper of Prints and Drawings and Paintings at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and author of the four volume Paintings and Drawings of John Constable (Yale 1996). He writes: 'I would expect it to be an early work, comparable to some of his oil landscapes painted between 1802 and 1804'. The painting depicts a view near Dedham, and shows Constable's interest to focus on the trees and sky. The manner is quite unlike the academic approach favoured by the artistic establishment of the day, and is a fresh and spontaneous representation of the scene before him, an early exercise in the approach to landscape painting which he developed over the next three decades, and for which he became so renowned and influential. The work is not a polished and finished composition intended for sale, but an example of the vast array of sketches and studies Constable made throughout his life, and probably remained in his studio. The V&A has a large collection of Constable's works from this period (and later), both of Suffolk and other subjects, which his daughter Isabel gave to the Museum in 1888. This painting has a Leggatt Bros label verso inscribed 'From the Collection of Miss Isabel Constable'.
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