Rare Constable goes under hammer
AN EXTREMELY rare picture sketched by the world-renowned artist John Constable is going to be auctioned.The Suffolk artist's oil on canvas picture of East Bergholt is going under the hammer at a Bonhams sale in London on July 7.
AN EXTREMELY rare picture sketched by the world-renowned artist John Constable is going to be auctioned.
The Suffolk artist's oil on canvas picture of East Bergholt is going under the hammer at a Bonhams sale in London on July 7.
And the tiny sketch, which measures only 12.5cm by 19.5cm, not much bigger than a CD case, is expected to fetch up to £80,000.
The auctioneers have dubbed the picture, which was created on the evening of August 10, 1811 and is inscribed with the date, as an important work of "exceptional interest".
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It shows the view from the back of East Bergholt House, which was the home of Constable's father, the miller Golding Constable, and shows his grain store to the right of the composition.
Andrew McKenzie, head of the old master paintings department at Bonhams, said the painting's subject made it so rare because it was where Constable himself grew up and returned to.
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"It was also painted during the period he was courting his future wife," he said.
"Constable did paint quite a few sketches on this scale. It was once known in the art world but must have been forgotten about because the current Constable specialists where unaware of it.
"I am sure there will be a lot of interest. It's quite important in that it's dated in Constable's own hand."
The catalogue says: "In 1802 Constable returned to his beloved East Bergholt, were he developed his outstanding 'natural painture' in a series of plein-air sketches, which are unsurpassed in their brilliance and spontaneity.
"The period 1810-1811, when the present sketch was done, was when the artist was courting his future wife, Maria Bicknell, whose grandfather lived in the rectory in East Bergholt.
"It is also the time when his sketches are considered to show a new freedom and vigour.
"In the summer of 1811 he had just returned to East Bergholt from Epsom, where he had seen his large-scale exhibition picture, Dedham Vale: Morning, 'much approved' at the Royal Academy."
Constable was born in East Bergholt in 1776 and was educated at Dedham grammar school before becoming famous for his paintings of the Stour Valley, including the masterpiece The Haywain.
He died in 1837 and is considered one of England's greatest artists, with readers of the East Anglian Daily Times voting him their Greatest East Anglian.
The East Bergholt picture was bought by Wiltshire collector Donald Glass around 1930 and has since descended to the present owners.