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Drawing - Cottage at Capel, Suffolk
  • Cottage at Capel, Suffolk
    John Constable, born 1776 - died 1837
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Cottage at Capel, Suffolk

  • Object:

    Drawing

  • Place of origin:

    Suffolk (drawn)

  • Date:

    1796 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

    John Constable, born 1776 - died 1837 (drawn by)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Isabel Constable, daughter of the artist

  • Museum number:

    358C-1888

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This drawing of a cottage at Capel, Suffolk, is one of the earliest dated drawings by Constable of which the whereabouts are now known. The light, schematic, somewhat tentative style is typical of his early work. In 1796, the year Constable created the sketchbook from which this drawing comes, he had not yet committed himself to an artistic career; it was assumed that he would enter his father's business. The same year, he met the writer J. T. 'Antiquity' Smith, who was collecting material for a book on rural scenery. Constable offered him several sketches of local cottages for possible inclusion in the book. Although Smith responded positively, he ultimately chose not to include any of Constable's cottage sketches in the published book.

Physical description

A drawing of a cottage with a small outbuilding attached, shaded on the left by two tall trees.

Place of Origin

Suffolk (drawn)

Date

1796 (drawn)

Artist/maker

John Constable, born 1776 - died 1837 (drawn by)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink

Marks and inscriptions

'Caple Suffolk'

Dimensions

Height: 180 mm, Width: 299 mm

Object history note

This is one of the earliest dated drawings by Constable of which the whereabouts are now known.

Historical context note

John Constable was born in East Bergholt, Suffolk, on 11 June 1776, the second son of Golding Constable, a well-to-do mill-owner, and Ann Watts. His fondness for painting, without any marked precocity, had already declared itself by the time he was 16 or 17: and he was encouraged in this taste by his friendship with John Dunthorne, a plumber and glazier of East Bergholt, who was an amateur painter.

Excluding copies after engravings, 358C-1888 is among the earliest dated drawings by Constable of which the whereabouts are now known. In 1796, Constable, not yet firmly committed to an artistic career, met the writer J. T. 'Antiquity' Smith, who was compiling Remarks on Rural Scenery; With twenty etchings of Cottages, from Nature; and some observations and precepts relative to the pictoresque (published June 1797). Constable wrote to Smith in October 1796, offering to send him several drawings of cottages, perhaps from this sketchbook, which he might find suitable for his purposes. Although Smith apparently responded positively, none of Constable's drawings appears in the published edition.

In 1797 Constable was following his father's business in Suffolk. In 1799 he went to London to pursue his career in the arts, and on Farington's recommendation he was admitted as a probationer to the Academy Schools in March of that year.

Lt.-Col. C. A. Brooks considers that this drawing represents a cottage at Marsh Farm, Brantham, which was demolished in 1958 (G. Reynolds, Catalogue of the Constable Collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1973, p.34)

In 1796, Constable, not yet firmly committed to an artistic career, met the writer J. T. 'Antiquity' Smith, who was compiling Remarks on Rural Scenery; With twenty etchings of Cottages, from Nature; and some observations and precepts relative to the pictoresque (published June 1797). Constable wrote to Smith in October 1796, offering to send him several drawings of cottages, perhaps from this sketchbook, which he might find suitable for his purposes. Although Smith apparently responded positively, none of Constable's drawings appears in the published edition.

Descriptive line

Drawing of a cottage at Capel, Suffolk, by John Constable

Materials

Pen and ink

Techniques

Drawn

Subjects depicted

Cottages

Categories

Drawings

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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