Constable paintings to go under hammer

A SELECTION of early works by Suffolk artist John Constable are expected to fetch in excess of £30,000 when they go under the hammer later this month. The three paintings were once owned by his younger sister, Mary, and were passed on to her nephew, Reverend Daniel Constable Whalley.

A SELECTION of early works by Suffolk artist John Constable are expected to fetch in excess of £30,000 when they go under the hammer later this month.

The three paintings were once owned by his younger sister, Mary, and were passed on to her nephew, Reverend Daniel Constable Whalley.

The present owner, who does not want to be named, is also a direct descendent and the works are expected to draw a lot of interest from art enthusiasts when they are auctioned on September 18 at Bonhams in London.

The first painting, entitled A Rider and Companion Crossing a Bridge, is a delicate watercolour in pen and black ink with a monochrome wash and is estimated to fetch between £12,000 and £18,000.

Also on offer are A Mountainous Landscape, estimated at between £6,000 and £9,000, and A River in a Hilly Valley, expected to fetch between £4,000 and £6,000.

A spokeswoman for Bonhams said: “Constable painted the three watercolours in his early twenties, at a time when he faced a crossroads in his life.

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“He was still very unsure whether to become a professional painter or to take on his father's lucrative corn mill.

“He faced considerable opposition from his family, who wanted him to take on the family business and his desire to become an artist threatened, for a time, his engagement to childhood sweetheart Maria Bicknell.

“The paintings date from a time when Constable was still developing his technique, he had yet to acquire a concrete style and seems to have been influenced by other artists such as Ramsay Reinagle.”

Constable was born in East Bergholt and his father owned Flatford Mill in the Dedham Vale.

His most famous works include The Hay Wain, painted in 1821, and The Dedham Vale of 1802.

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