A centuries-old painting by legendary Suffolk artist John Constable is going under the hammer at auction.

The 200-year-old oil sketch by landscape painter Constable had been lost for more than 40 years.

It was discovered in a private collection in Guernsey and will now go under the hammer at Martel Maides Auctions on the island on Thursday, September 21. 

East Anglian Daily Times: The painting shows Willy Lott's House in FlatfordThe painting shows Willy Lott's House in Flatford (Image: Martel Maides Auctions)

Constable was born in Suffolk and is known for revolutionising the genre of landscape painting with his pictures of Dedham Vale, near the border with Essex.

Jonathan Voak, paintings specialist at Martel Maides Auctions, said of the piece: "The re-emergence of this oil sketch will make an important contribution towards establishing the chronology of Constable's body of work".

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The Field Studies Council have operated from Flatford Mill for almost 80 years and were delighted about the paintings rediscovery. 

"News of the discovery has generated quite a buzz" said John Blair, centre manager at Flatford Mill. 

"We are very fortunate to be able to share that rich history and the incredible views which inspired him with our visitors every single day".

Visitors to Flatford Mill can stay in Willy Lott's House, which is the subject of the rediscovered oil painting as well as other Constable paintings.

The guide price for the artwork is between £80,000 and £120,000 – but it could sell for more. 

Constable's work is so sought after a painting called The Lock reached £22.4million at auction in London in 2012, which made it the most expensive British artwork ever sold.

The oil sketch is available for viewing from September 7.