Lowell Libson & Jonny Yarker Ltd

  • Pencil on paper with the cut watermark of Britannia in a cartouche
  • 4 × 6 ¼ inches · 103 × 158 mm
  • Drawn 1808
  • £22,000

Collections

  • John Constable;
  • Hugh Constable, (grandson of the painter), by descent;
  • Leggatt Bros., acquired from the above;
  • W. A Briscoe, Longstowe Hall, Cambridgeshire, acquired from the above, 1860-1934;
  • Richard G Briscoe, Longstowe Hall, Cambridgeshire 1893-1957;
  • Michael Bevan, Longstowe Hall, Cambridgeshire, by descent from the above, to 1992;
  • And by descent, to 2001;
  • Private collection, 2018

Exhibitions

  • London, Leggatt's Gallery (77 Cornhill, London), Pictures and water-colour drawings by John Constable, R.A.,1899.

Literature

  • Graham Reynolds, The Early Paintings and Drawings of John Constable, New Haven and London, 1996, cat. no. 08.23, repr. pl. 704 (verso: cat. no. 08.20, pl. 699).

This sensitive study shows a recumbent male nude reclining on the recto and the outline of a standing figure on the verso. This page seems likely to have come from a sketchbook Constable was using in 1808 when he was recorded drawing in the Life Academy at the Royal Academy. 

The rapid sketches were probably made whilst Constable was establishing the view of each pose he wanted to take. We know that in 1808 he was also making studies from the life in oil and larger finished drawings. Although Constable was already an established landscape painter, who had exhibited a number of landscapes in the annual Royal Academy exhibiton, he was conscious of the importance of drawing from the living model. Joshua Reynolds, writing in the Twelfth Discourse, had stressed the necessity of the young artist returning to the living model when preparing a painting.[1] Constable certainly retained the studies he made at the Academy in 1808 using them in compositions he made much later in his career.[2]

References

  1. Ed. Robert Wark, Sir Joshua Reynolds: Discourses on Art, New Haven and London, 1975, p.222-223. 
  2. For example Constable seems to have returned to an oil study of a male nude in his preparations for The Lock in 1824.