Page 1


Contents

7

foreword

9

Introduction

39

origins

53

outdoor oil sketchs and studies

77

collector

91

copying

109

methods

119

sources

151

canon

176

notes bibliography index

180 188


Contents

7

foreword

9

Introduction

39

origins

53

outdoor oil sketchs and studies

77

collector

91

copying

109

methods

119

sources

151

canon

176

notes bibliography index

180 188


Origins: Seeking the truth at second hand

While his contemporaries J.M.W. Turner and Thomas Girtin were the children of London tradesmen who acquired the elements of draughtsmanship as teenage apprentices, Constable was the son of a well-to-do farmer, mill owner and merchant, and he initially learned to paint and draw as a gentlemanly pursuit. It was thus as a fellow amateur, albeit of inferior social status and artistic skill, that he was introduced to ‘the leader of taste in the fashionable world’, Sir George Beaumont, probably in 1795 while the baronet was visiting Dedham.1 Attributing this encounter to ‘the anxious and parental attention of his mother’, Constable later affirmed that it had ‘entirely influenced his future life’.2 At the time, the concept of an ‘amateur’ remained free of the pejorative associations of a standard of performance inferior to that of a professional, and retained its original meaning of a lover of the arts.3 It was in this sense that the collector John Sheepshanks thanked Constable in 1833 as an ‘Amateur in prints’ for the loan of a prized volume of etchings.4 Use of this term for one who practices the arts without payment only gradually became current during Constable’s lifetime.

Amateurs and professionals

Detail of no. 12

The diarist John Evelyn was a consummate amateur, who reflected the customary view of the social elite that gentlemen with the means and leisure to cultivate the arts were innately superior to ‘mechanical capricious persons’ of ‘a mean condition’, who mere ‘necessity renders… industrious’.5 Such amateurs as the lawyer William Taverner and the East India merchant Richard Beauvoir were talented watercolourists, while their professional contemporaries Alexander Cozens and Paul Sandby were employed as drawing masters teaching, respectively, trainee mariners at Trinity House and student gunners at Woolwich Arsenal.6 Beauvoir’s own teacher was George Lambert, a convivial

intermediary between amateur and professional artists, who combined landscape painting with a salaried post at Covent Garden Theatre, and in 1761 was elected chairman of the newly founded Society of Artists of Great Britain (see fig. 43).7 In 1770 the first President of the recently-founded Royal Academy, Sir Joshua Reynolds insisted that ‘intellectual dignity…ennobles the painter’s art’, raising it above ‘the mere mechanick’; and obtained official sanction for this position in 1773 when he was awarded a doctorate from the University of Oxford.8 Nevertheless, the distinction between amateurs and professionals was sometimes imprecise. For example, Thomas Jones, the younger son of a Radnorshire landowner, spent two years at Jesus College Oxford before becoming a student of Richard Wilson, and eked out a living as an artist from 1765 until 1787, when an inheritance allowed him to retire to his family estates as a country squire.9 His near contemporary Thomas Kerrich graduated from Cambridge, and earned a silver medal for drawing from the Antwerp academy, but made a career as a university librarian and antiquarian, making numerous drawings of medieval buildings, costume and armour.10 Jones had given occasional lessons to Beaumont (fig. 65), who was an honorary exhibitor at the Royal Academy between 1794–1825, and represents the final embodiment of a concept of gentleman amateur whose origins were rooted in the humanist ideals of Sir Thomas Elyot.11 With tutors including Cozens, his son John Robert Cozens, and Girtin, Beaumont was esteemed as the leading amateur painter of the day, and was even mentioned as a potential president of the Royal Academy.12 In 1806 he was a founder of the British Institution which mounted exhibitions of historic and modern art, provided facilities for students to copy the old masters, awarded premiums to artists and purchased their work.xiii Beaumont acquired the only

9


Origins: Seeking the truth at second hand

While his contemporaries J.M.W. Turner and Thomas Girtin were the children of London tradesmen who acquired the elements of draughtsmanship as teenage apprentices, Constable was the son of a well-to-do farmer, mill owner and merchant, and he initially learned to paint and draw as a gentlemanly pursuit. It was thus as a fellow amateur, albeit of inferior social status and artistic skill, that he was introduced to ‘the leader of taste in the fashionable world’, Sir George Beaumont, probably in 1795 while the baronet was visiting Dedham.1 Attributing this encounter to ‘the anxious and parental attention of his mother’, Constable later affirmed that it had ‘entirely influenced his future life’.2 At the time, the concept of an ‘amateur’ remained free of the pejorative associations of a standard of performance inferior to that of a professional, and retained its original meaning of a lover of the arts.3 It was in this sense that the collector John Sheepshanks thanked Constable in 1833 as an ‘Amateur in prints’ for the loan of a prized volume of etchings.4 Use of this term for one who practices the arts without payment only gradually became current during Constable’s lifetime.

Amateurs and professionals

Detail of no. 12

The diarist John Evelyn was a consummate amateur, who reflected the customary view of the social elite that gentlemen with the means and leisure to cultivate the arts were innately superior to ‘mechanical capricious persons’ of ‘a mean condition’, who mere ‘necessity renders… industrious’.5 Such amateurs as the lawyer William Taverner and the East India merchant Richard Beauvoir were talented watercolourists, while their professional contemporaries Alexander Cozens and Paul Sandby were employed as drawing masters teaching, respectively, trainee mariners at Trinity House and student gunners at Woolwich Arsenal.6 Beauvoir’s own teacher was George Lambert, a convivial

intermediary between amateur and professional artists, who combined landscape painting with a salaried post at Covent Garden Theatre, and in 1761 was elected chairman of the newly founded Society of Artists of Great Britain (see fig. 43).7 In 1770 the first President of the recently-founded Royal Academy, Sir Joshua Reynolds insisted that ‘intellectual dignity…ennobles the painter’s art’, raising it above ‘the mere mechanick’; and obtained official sanction for this position in 1773 when he was awarded a doctorate from the University of Oxford.8 Nevertheless, the distinction between amateurs and professionals was sometimes imprecise. For example, Thomas Jones, the younger son of a Radnorshire landowner, spent two years at Jesus College Oxford before becoming a student of Richard Wilson, and eked out a living as an artist from 1765 until 1787, when an inheritance allowed him to retire to his family estates as a country squire.9 His near contemporary Thomas Kerrich graduated from Cambridge, and earned a silver medal for drawing from the Antwerp academy, but made a career as a university librarian and antiquarian, making numerous drawings of medieval buildings, costume and armour.10 Jones had given occasional lessons to Beaumont (fig. 65), who was an honorary exhibitor at the Royal Academy between 1794–1825, and represents the final embodiment of a concept of gentleman amateur whose origins were rooted in the humanist ideals of Sir Thomas Elyot.11 With tutors including Cozens, his son John Robert Cozens, and Girtin, Beaumont was esteemed as the leading amateur painter of the day, and was even mentioned as a potential president of the Royal Academy.12 In 1806 he was a founder of the British Institution which mounted exhibitions of historic and modern art, provided facilities for students to copy the old masters, awarded premiums to artists and purchased their work.xiii Beaumont acquired the only

9


marble by Michelangelo (1475–1564) in England, the circularVirgin and Child with St. John , which his widow gave to the Royal Academy.14 His most seminal achievement was the assembly of an exquisite collection of paintings, including major works by Claude Lorrain, Peter Paul Rubens and Canaletto, as well as recent British pictures by Richard Wilson and David Wilkie, which he gave as a foundation gift for the National Gallery.15 Beaumont reputedly treated his favourite painting, Claude’s Hagar and the Angel (cat. no. 110), ‘as a man would deal with a child he loved: he travelled with it: carried it about with him; and valued it … beyond any picture that he had’.16 Thus it was that this classic landscape accompanied him to Dedham, apparently stored under the roof of his carriage, where it was the first painting by Claude to be seen by Constable.17 The copying of prints was traditionally the preliminary stage in acquiring draughtsmanship, and given Beaumont’s patrician tastes, it was perhaps fortuitous that the young Constable showed him, as evidence of his skill, ‘some copies made…in pen and ink from Dorigny’s engravings of the Cartoons of Raphael’, with which the baronet graciously ‘expressed himself pleased’.18 The seven large engravings after the Vatican Cartoons by Raphael which had earned Nicholas Dorigny a knighthood from George I remained the principal reproductions of these canonical works until they were the subject of an early photography campaign in 1858.19 Constable’s three conscientious ink and wash copies of these prints (cat. no. 3; R.95.1–3) reveal the novice artist’s

10

Origins: Seeking the truth at second hand

struggle to capture Raphael’s portentous expressions and gestures (cat. no. 4). Over forty years later he informed his audience in a lecture that ‘the lovely pastoral scenery of that noble cartoon, The Charge to Peter, is probably familiar to all my auditors’.20 Another of Constable’s early student exercises is a copy of an engraving after Claude’s Embarkation of Carlo and Ubaldo, which he punctiliously inscribed: Claude Gelee Le Lorrain pinx. J. Constable del. 1795 (R. 95.4). While staying with his uncle Thomas Allen at Edmonton in the summer of 1796 Constable became acquainted with local antiquarians and professional artists including John Cranch and John Thomas Smith.21 The former was largely self-taught, his modest ability leavened by high-flown artistic ideals, as is shown by his Monks with a lantern in a moonlit landscape , painted in 1795 (fig. 42).22 This is a pastiche of Wilson’s ‘Landskip with hermits’ known as Solitude (1762), of which Constable later owned an etching (no. 3.17), with the addition of dramatic nocturnal lighting reminiscent of the work of Joseph Wright of Derby.23

Painter’s Reading In September 1796 the good natured Cranch provided his young protégé with a list of ‘Painter’s Reading, and hint or two respecting study’.24 This comprised Leonardo da Vinci A Treatise of Painting (1st ed. 1721), Roger de Piles The Principles of Painting (1743), William Hogarth The Analysis of Beauty (1st ed. 1753), Charles du Fresnoy The Art of Painting (1st ed. 1695), Daniel Webb An Inquiry into the Beauties of Painting

3 Claude Lorrain, Landscape with Hagar and the Angel, 1646 Oil on canvas mounted on wood, 52 × 42.3 cm (20½ × 16½ in) National Gallery, London Presented by Sir George Beaumont (NG 61) This work was the favourite of Sir George Beaumont, bought in 1785. When giving his collection to the National Gallery he asked that this painting remain with him until his death. Constable is known to have copied this picture when in Beaumont’s possession.


marble by Michelangelo (1475–1564) in England, the circularVirgin and Child with St. John , which his widow gave to the Royal Academy.14 His most seminal achievement was the assembly of an exquisite collection of paintings, including major works by Claude Lorrain, Peter Paul Rubens and Canaletto, as well as recent British pictures by Richard Wilson and David Wilkie, which he gave as a foundation gift for the National Gallery.15 Beaumont reputedly treated his favourite painting, Claude’s Hagar and the Angel (cat. no. 110), ‘as a man would deal with a child he loved: he travelled with it: carried it about with him; and valued it … beyond any picture that he had’.16 Thus it was that this classic landscape accompanied him to Dedham, apparently stored under the roof of his carriage, where it was the first painting by Claude to be seen by Constable.17 The copying of prints was traditionally the preliminary stage in acquiring draughtsmanship, and given Beaumont’s patrician tastes, it was perhaps fortuitous that the young Constable showed him, as evidence of his skill, ‘some copies made…in pen and ink from Dorigny’s engravings of the Cartoons of Raphael’, with which the baronet graciously ‘expressed himself pleased’.18 The seven large engravings after the Vatican Cartoons by Raphael which had earned Nicholas Dorigny a knighthood from George I remained the principal reproductions of these canonical works until they were the subject of an early photography campaign in 1858.19 Constable’s three conscientious ink and wash copies of these prints (cat. no. 3; R.95.1–3) reveal the novice artist’s

10

Origins: Seeking the truth at second hand

struggle to capture Raphael’s portentous expressions and gestures (cat. no. 4). Over forty years later he informed his audience in a lecture that ‘the lovely pastoral scenery of that noble cartoon, The Charge to Peter, is probably familiar to all my auditors’.20 Another of Constable’s early student exercises is a copy of an engraving after Claude’s Embarkation of Carlo and Ubaldo, which he punctiliously inscribed: Claude Gelee Le Lorrain pinx. J. Constable del. 1795 (R. 95.4). While staying with his uncle Thomas Allen at Edmonton in the summer of 1796 Constable became acquainted with local antiquarians and professional artists including John Cranch and John Thomas Smith.21 The former was largely self-taught, his modest ability leavened by high-flown artistic ideals, as is shown by his Monks with a lantern in a moonlit landscape , painted in 1795 (fig. 42).22 This is a pastiche of Wilson’s ‘Landskip with hermits’ known as Solitude (1762), of which Constable later owned an etching (no. 3.17), with the addition of dramatic nocturnal lighting reminiscent of the work of Joseph Wright of Derby.23

Painter’s Reading In September 1796 the good natured Cranch provided his young protégé with a list of ‘Painter’s Reading, and hint or two respecting study’.24 This comprised Leonardo da Vinci A Treatise of Painting (1st ed. 1721), Roger de Piles The Principles of Painting (1743), William Hogarth The Analysis of Beauty (1st ed. 1753), Charles du Fresnoy The Art of Painting (1st ed. 1695), Daniel Webb An Inquiry into the Beauties of Painting

3 Claude Lorrain, Landscape with Hagar and the Angel, 1646 Oil on canvas mounted on wood, 52 × 42.3 cm (20½ × 16½ in) National Gallery, London Presented by Sir George Beaumont (NG 61) This work was the favourite of Sir George Beaumont, bought in 1785. When giving his collection to the National Gallery he asked that this painting remain with him until his death. Constable is known to have copied this picture when in Beaumont’s possession.


(1st ed. 1760), Francesco Algarotti An Essay on Painting (1764), Jean Baptise Dubos Critical Reflections on Poetry, Painting, and Music (1st ed. 1748), ‘a small tract’ by Anton Raphael Mengs, perhaps Sketches on the Art of Painting (1782), Gérard de Lairesse The Art of Painting in all its Branches (1st ed. 1738), Jonathan Richardson the elder The Works of Mr. Jonathan Richardson (1st ed. 1773), Jonathan Richardson the elder and younger An Account of the Statues, Bas-reliefs, Drawings, and Pictures in Italy, France, &c (1st ed. 1722), and finally Joshua Reynolds The Discourses on Art (printed separately 1769–1790; 1st complete ed. 1797). As these books evidently provided the foundations of Constable’s ideas on painting, they will be considered here at some length. The earliest, and the first on this list, was A Treatise of Painting, compiled in the mid-sixteenth century from the notes of Leonardo da Vinci by his heir Francesco Melzi and first published in 1651. Its English translation by the mapmaker, bookseller and Freemason John Senex and William Taylor appeared in 1721. With numerous diagrams, this promoted a Newtonian approach to the visual arts aimed at those interested in experimental knowledge, as much as practicing artists.25 Copies ‘had become so scarce, and risen to a price so extravagant, that to supply the demand, it was found necessary, in the year 1796 to reprint it as it stood’, and a new translation by the painter John Francis Rigaud followed in 1802.26 The Art of Painting in all its Branches by the ‘Dutch Poussin’, Gérard de Lairesse, was recommended to Constable for its ‘many usefull hints and helps of study, and many ingenious things to facilitate practice.’27 Observing that ‘a fine Landskip … consists principally in an orderly Disposition of Lights against Darkness; whence arises the good Harmony’, de Lairesse cited as famous exponents of modern Landskip the Dutch painters Allart van Everdingen, Adam Pynacker, Jacob van Ruisdael and Frederik de Moucheron.28 De Lairesse asserted that ‘Nature is modern, that is, imperfect: But she is Antique and perfect, when we judiciously adorn her with … magnificent … Remains of Antiquity’.29 Charles du Fresnoy had been inspired by Horace’s Arts poetica to liken painting to poetry, and accorded pre-eminence to Raphael, Michelangelo and Giulio

12

Origins: Seeking the truth at second hand

Romano in his long Latin poem De arte graphica. This was translated into French with a commentary by Roger de Piles and into English by the poet laureate John Dryden, although Cranch seems to have preferred the ‘spirited and elegant’ translation of William Mason, with scholarly notes by Joshua Reynolds. 30 Du Fresnoy’s traditional analogy between poetry and painting was expanded to include music and drama by the Abbé Jean Baptise Dubos who noted that the great difference between the atmospheric conditions of Italy and Flanders ‘is observable in the painted skies of Titian and Rubens’.31 In The Principles of Painting, de Piles advocated the colourism of the Venetian school and Rubens, insisting that painting should communicate a state of mind. His chapter ‘Of Landskip’ distinguished ‘the heroick ‘ from ‘the pastoral or rural’, calling the former ‘an agreeable illusion, and a sort of inchantment … as Poussin … so happily expressed it’, while the latter showed ‘the caprice of nature … simple, without ornament, and without artifice; but with all those graces with which she adorns herself much more, when left to herself, than when constrained by art’.32 The polymath and connoisseur Francesco Algarotti had been lionized by English society during the 1730s, and his Essay on Painting was dedicated to the Society of Arts, which had been founded in 1754. It lists as ‘The most eminent landscape painters’: Nicolas Poussin, whose diligent works were ‘more indebted…to the descriptions of Pausanias, than to nature and truth’; Claude Lorrain, ‘who applied himself chiefly to express the various phenomena of light, especially those perceivable in the heavens’; and Titian, ‘the Homer of landscape’, whose St. Peter Martyr Altarpiece included ‘perhaps, the finest landscape, that ever issued from mortal hands’.33 The painter Jonathan Richardson the elder mentioned little about landscape in his essays ‘on painting and connoisseurship’ which were advocated by Cranch, but his ‘Essay on Prints’, published with them in 1792, esteemed the Dutch engraver Antonie Waterloo as ‘beyond all others in landscape, his subject is perfectly rural and simple… and his execution shews him a consummate master; every object he touches has the character of nature, but he particularly excels in the foliage of his trees… Waterloo saw nature with

4 John Constable, Dedham Vale from the Coombs, 1802 Oil on canvas, 43.5 × 34.4 cm (17½ × 13½ in) Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Given by Isabel Constable (V&A: 124–1888) This is an early example of Constable combining the influence of the old masters with the direct observation of nature. Here he adapts the compositional pattern from Claude’s Hagar and the Angel (National Gallery, London) and combines it with a view looking towards Dedham village.

13


(1st ed. 1760), Francesco Algarotti An Essay on Painting (1764), Jean Baptise Dubos Critical Reflections on Poetry, Painting, and Music (1st ed. 1748), ‘a small tract’ by Anton Raphael Mengs, perhaps Sketches on the Art of Painting (1782), Gérard de Lairesse The Art of Painting in all its Branches (1st ed. 1738), Jonathan Richardson the elder The Works of Mr. Jonathan Richardson (1st ed. 1773), Jonathan Richardson the elder and younger An Account of the Statues, Bas-reliefs, Drawings, and Pictures in Italy, France, &c (1st ed. 1722), and finally Joshua Reynolds The Discourses on Art (printed separately 1769–1790; 1st complete ed. 1797). As these books evidently provided the foundations of Constable’s ideas on painting, they will be considered here at some length. The earliest, and the first on this list, was A Treatise of Painting, compiled in the mid-sixteenth century from the notes of Leonardo da Vinci by his heir Francesco Melzi and first published in 1651. Its English translation by the mapmaker, bookseller and Freemason John Senex and William Taylor appeared in 1721. With numerous diagrams, this promoted a Newtonian approach to the visual arts aimed at those interested in experimental knowledge, as much as practicing artists.25 Copies ‘had become so scarce, and risen to a price so extravagant, that to supply the demand, it was found necessary, in the year 1796 to reprint it as it stood’, and a new translation by the painter John Francis Rigaud followed in 1802.26 The Art of Painting in all its Branches by the ‘Dutch Poussin’, Gérard de Lairesse, was recommended to Constable for its ‘many usefull hints and helps of study, and many ingenious things to facilitate practice.’27 Observing that ‘a fine Landskip … consists principally in an orderly Disposition of Lights against Darkness; whence arises the good Harmony’, de Lairesse cited as famous exponents of modern Landskip the Dutch painters Allart van Everdingen, Adam Pynacker, Jacob van Ruisdael and Frederik de Moucheron.28 De Lairesse asserted that ‘Nature is modern, that is, imperfect: But she is Antique and perfect, when we judiciously adorn her with … magnificent … Remains of Antiquity’.29 Charles du Fresnoy had been inspired by Horace’s Arts poetica to liken painting to poetry, and accorded pre-eminence to Raphael, Michelangelo and Giulio

12

Origins: Seeking the truth at second hand

Romano in his long Latin poem De arte graphica. This was translated into French with a commentary by Roger de Piles and into English by the poet laureate John Dryden, although Cranch seems to have preferred the ‘spirited and elegant’ translation of William Mason, with scholarly notes by Joshua Reynolds. 30 Du Fresnoy’s traditional analogy between poetry and painting was expanded to include music and drama by the Abbé Jean Baptise Dubos who noted that the great difference between the atmospheric conditions of Italy and Flanders ‘is observable in the painted skies of Titian and Rubens’.31 In The Principles of Painting, de Piles advocated the colourism of the Venetian school and Rubens, insisting that painting should communicate a state of mind. His chapter ‘Of Landskip’ distinguished ‘the heroick ‘ from ‘the pastoral or rural’, calling the former ‘an agreeable illusion, and a sort of inchantment … as Poussin … so happily expressed it’, while the latter showed ‘the caprice of nature … simple, without ornament, and without artifice; but with all those graces with which she adorns herself much more, when left to herself, than when constrained by art’.32 The polymath and connoisseur Francesco Algarotti had been lionized by English society during the 1730s, and his Essay on Painting was dedicated to the Society of Arts, which had been founded in 1754. It lists as ‘The most eminent landscape painters’: Nicolas Poussin, whose diligent works were ‘more indebted…to the descriptions of Pausanias, than to nature and truth’; Claude Lorrain, ‘who applied himself chiefly to express the various phenomena of light, especially those perceivable in the heavens’; and Titian, ‘the Homer of landscape’, whose St. Peter Martyr Altarpiece included ‘perhaps, the finest landscape, that ever issued from mortal hands’.33 The painter Jonathan Richardson the elder mentioned little about landscape in his essays ‘on painting and connoisseurship’ which were advocated by Cranch, but his ‘Essay on Prints’, published with them in 1792, esteemed the Dutch engraver Antonie Waterloo as ‘beyond all others in landscape, his subject is perfectly rural and simple… and his execution shews him a consummate master; every object he touches has the character of nature, but he particularly excels in the foliage of his trees… Waterloo saw nature with

4 John Constable, Dedham Vale from the Coombs, 1802 Oil on canvas, 43.5 × 34.4 cm (17½ × 13½ in) Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Given by Isabel Constable (V&A: 124–1888) This is an early example of Constable combining the influence of the old masters with the direct observation of nature. Here he adapts the compositional pattern from Claude’s Hagar and the Angel (National Gallery, London) and combines it with a view looking towards Dedham village.

13


8 Nicholas Dorigny, after Raphael, Christ’s Charge to Peter, 1719 Etching and engraving, 53.4 × 75.2 cm (21 × 29½ in) Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A: 20284)

14

This engraving is taken from one of seven full size cartoons designed by Raphael for tapestries in the Sistine Chapel. This print is in reverse of the cartoon from which it is

Sketches and Exhibition Paintings, 1819–28

derived but is faithful in its compositional detail. Constable’s copies of the engraving unknowingly mimic this reversal of the original design.

10 John Constable after Dorigny, Christ’s Charge to Peter, after Raphael, 1795 Ink and sepia wash on paper, 48.9 × 74.6 cm (19½ × 29½ in) The Victor Batte-Lay Trust, Colchester (R.95.1)

Raphael’s Sistine Cartoons had been purchased on behalf of Charles I in 1623 and were engraved in 1711–19 by Nicholas Dorigny. This drawing, signed and dated (17)95, is one of Constable’s three surviving copies of these engravings after the Cartoons.

15


8 Nicholas Dorigny, after Raphael, Christ’s Charge to Peter, 1719 Etching and engraving, 53.4 × 75.2 cm (21 × 29½ in) Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A: 20284)

14

This engraving is taken from one of seven full size cartoons designed by Raphael for tapestries in the Sistine Chapel. This print is in reverse of the cartoon from which it is

Sketches and Exhibition Paintings, 1819–28

derived but is faithful in its compositional detail. Constable’s copies of the engraving unknowingly mimic this reversal of the original design.

10 John Constable after Dorigny, Christ’s Charge to Peter, after Raphael, 1795 Ink and sepia wash on paper, 48.9 × 74.6 cm (19½ × 29½ in) The Victor Batte-Lay Trust, Colchester (R.95.1)

Raphael’s Sistine Cartoons had been purchased on behalf of Charles I in 1623 and were engraved in 1711–19 by Nicholas Dorigny. This drawing, signed and dated (17)95, is one of Constable’s three surviving copies of these engravings after the Cartoons.

15


52 Canaletto, Waterloo Bridge from above Whitehall Stairs, c.1819 Oil on canvas, 108.3 × 188.6 cm (42½ × 74½ in) Royal Collection Trust (RCIN 400504) Canaletto’s dynamic view of London grouped around a bend in the river Thames is one of a pair with a view of Westminster. This popular composition established an enduring model for views of the City of London.

104

53 (opposite) John Constable, Waterloo Bridge from above Whitehall Stairs, c.1819 Oil on canvas mounted on wood, 30.6 × 41 cm (12 × 16½ in) Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A: 290–1888) The viewpoint for this exact topographical panorama was probably No. 5 Whitehall Yard, itself represented as a house with crowded balconies on the left foreground of the final version of this composition (Cat.6.5).

105


52 Canaletto, Waterloo Bridge from above Whitehall Stairs, c.1819 Oil on canvas, 108.3 × 188.6 cm (42½ × 74½ in) Royal Collection Trust (RCIN 400504) Canaletto’s dynamic view of London grouped around a bend in the river Thames is one of a pair with a view of Westminster. This popular composition established an enduring model for views of the City of London.

104

53 (opposite) John Constable, Waterloo Bridge from above Whitehall Stairs, c.1819 Oil on canvas mounted on wood, 30.6 × 41 cm (12 × 16½ in) Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A: 290–1888) The viewpoint for this exact topographical panorama was probably No. 5 Whitehall Yard, itself represented as a house with crowded balconies on the left foreground of the final version of this composition (Cat.6.5).

105


120

58 John Constable, Spring: East Bergholt Common, c.1821 or 1829 Oil on oak panel, 19 × 6. cm (7½ × 14½ in) Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A: 144–1888)

59 John Constable, Study of cirrus clouds, c.1821/2 Oil on paper, 11.4 × 17.8 cm (4½ × 7 in) Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A: 784–1888)

The oil sketch repeats a drawing dated 19 April 1821 (R.21.11), and was probably painted in the studio. Pitt’s Mill, in which Constable worked as an apprentice miller, is to the right of the image.

This is one of Constable’s best known cloud studies, which he generally made in Hampstead. The term ‘Cirrus’ inscribed on the back establishes Constable’s familiarity with cloud classification.

121


120

58 John Constable, Spring: East Bergholt Common, c.1821 or 1829 Oil on oak panel, 19 × 6. cm (7½ × 14½ in) Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A: 144–1888)

59 John Constable, Study of cirrus clouds, c.1821/2 Oil on paper, 11.4 × 17.8 cm (4½ × 7 in) Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A: 784–1888)

The oil sketch repeats a drawing dated 19 April 1821 (R.21.11), and was probably painted in the studio. Pitt’s Mill, in which Constable worked as an apprentice miller, is to the right of the image.

This is one of Constable’s best known cloud studies, which he generally made in Hampstead. The term ‘Cirrus’ inscribed on the back establishes Constable’s familiarity with cloud classification.

121


65 (opposite) John Constable, Willy Lott’s House, c.1811 Oil on paper, 24.1 × 18.1 cm (9½ × 7½ in) Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A: 166–1888 This sketch is painted on the unprimed reverse of another representing the same view. With few alterations, this sketch was utilized as the left half of the composition of The Hay Wain, almost ten years later.

66 John Constable, Willy Lott’s House, c.1810 Oil on canvas, 27.3 × 24.2 cm (10½ × 9½ in) Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A: 787–1888) This work is on the reverse of a sketch called The Lane from East Bergholt to Flatford. Constable had already painted this subject as early as 1802, and this and cat. no. 65 are embedded within the final full-scale sketch of The Hay Wain. There is a high level of flood water within this scene.

172

173


65 (opposite) John Constable, Willy Lott’s House, c.1811 Oil on paper, 24.1 × 18.1 cm (9½ × 7½ in) Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A: 166–1888 This sketch is painted on the unprimed reverse of another representing the same view. With few alterations, this sketch was utilized as the left half of the composition of The Hay Wain, almost ten years later.

66 John Constable, Willy Lott’s House, c.1810 Oil on canvas, 27.3 × 24.2 cm (10½ × 9½ in) Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A: 787–1888) This work is on the reverse of a sketch called The Lane from East Bergholt to Flatford. Constable had already painted this subject as early as 1802, and this and cat. no. 65 are embedded within the final full-scale sketch of The Hay Wain. There is a high level of flood water within this scene.

172

173


67 John Constable, The Hay Wain, 1821 Oil on canvas, 130.5 × 185.5 cm (51½ × 73½ in) National Gallery, London (NG 1207)

174

This painting was of central significance in Constable’s professional career, marking the point at which he achieved critical success, and was routinely compared with

Ruisdael and the Dutch painter Hobbema. It was inspired by Rubens’ A View of Het Steen in the Early Morning (probably 1636), now in the National Gallery (fig.4.).

67 John Constable, The Hay Wain (full-scale sketch), 1821 Oil on canvas, 137 × 188 cm (54 × 74 in) National Gallery, London (V&A: 987–1900)

This study is slightly larger than the finished version of the composition, first exhibited in 1821. This is highly unusual as most artists would make a smaller ‘modello’ unless producing a cartoon. The artist made full-

scale preparatory sketches for his six-foot exhibition paintings as a means of coordinating motifs assembled from smaller studies and establishing the overall balance of light and shade.

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67 John Constable, The Hay Wain, 1821 Oil on canvas, 130.5 × 185.5 cm (51½ × 73½ in) National Gallery, London (NG 1207)

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This painting was of central significance in Constable’s professional career, marking the point at which he achieved critical success, and was routinely compared with

Ruisdael and the Dutch painter Hobbema. It was inspired by Rubens’ A View of Het Steen in the Early Morning (probably 1636), now in the National Gallery (fig.4.).

67 John Constable, The Hay Wain (full-scale sketch), 1821 Oil on canvas, 137 × 188 cm (54 × 74 in) National Gallery, London (V&A: 987–1900)

This study is slightly larger than the finished version of the composition, first exhibited in 1821. This is highly unusual as most artists would make a smaller ‘modello’ unless producing a cartoon. The artist made full-

scale preparatory sketches for his six-foot exhibition paintings as a means of coordinating motifs assembled from smaller studies and establishing the overall balance of light and shade.

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JOHN CONSTABLE The Making of a Master  

The remarkable naturalism of John Constable’s paintings has always been acknowledged, and his ‘vivid and timeless’ (as he called them) oil s...

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