John Constable R.A. (Suffolk 1776-1837 Hampstead) Worcester Cathedral from the meadows (with a copy of the 1936 exhibition catalogue of Drawings by John Constable, R.A., Robert Dunthorne & Son, Ltd, Rembrandt Gallery, London, where this drawing is listed as number 25.)

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Lot 78
John Constable R.A.
(Suffolk 1776-1837 Hampstead)
Worcester Cathedral from the meadows

Sold for £ 45,000 (US$ 59,113) inc. premium
John Constable R.A. (Suffolk 1776-1837 Hampstead)
Worcester Cathedral from the meadows
pencil on paper watermarked JWhatman/1833
22 x 28.5cm (8 11/16 x 11 1/4in).
with a copy of the 1936 exhibition catalogue of Drawings by John Constable, R.A., Robert Dunthorne & Son, Ltd, Rembrandt Gallery, London, where this drawing is listed as number 25.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    With Robert Dunthorne & Son, Ltd., Rembrandt Gallery, from whom acquired in 1936 by the family of the present owner

    Literature
    I. Fleming-Williams, Constable, a Master Draughtsman, exhibition catalogue, Dulwich Picture Gallery 1994, p. 252 and fig. 116
    G. Reynolds The early Paintings and Drawings of John Constable, no 35.27A, pl. 1457

    This drawing is on a sheet of Whatman paper from the larger sketch-book that Constable used for his visit to Sussex earlier in 1835 and which accompanied him on the Worcester trip in October. He was invited by the Worcestershire Institution for Literature and Science to give a series of lectures at the Worcester Athanaeum (and wrote to his engraver David Lucas "Who would ever have thought of my turning Methodist preacher, that is, a preacher on 'Method' "). What probably drew him to take up the invitation was the opportunity to return to a place that had strong connotations for him of his beloved wife Maria who had died in 1828. His first visit to Worcestershire had been in 1811 when they were courting and she had been sent by her parents to stay with relatives at Bewdley, a few miles north of Worcester. On 5 October 1835 he traveled down to Worcester on the Sovereign coach and stayed with Edward Leader Williams, father of the landscape painter Benjamin Williams Leader, (1831-1923). After delivering his lectures on the 6, 8 and 9 October Constable went on to Bewdley to stay with Maria's half-sister Sarah Fletcher at Spring Grove, the house where Maria had stayed 24 years earlier.

    The drawings Constable made on this trip are characterised by broad, sweeping strokes of the pencil punctuated with dots and jabbing marks. The present work shows Worcester from the water meadows, a cow watering at the river in the foreground and the cathedral framed by the sprawling branches of a gnarled, ivy-clad tree. It is among the very last studies he was to make from nature in any medium.
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