Please complete the form to email this item.

Drawing - Harwich: the seashore and lighthouse
  • Harwich: the seashore and lighthouse
    John Constable, born 1776 - died 1837
  • Enlarge image

Harwich: the seashore and lighthouse

  • Object:

    Drawing

  • Place of origin:

    Harwich, United Kingdom (drawn)

  • Date:

    ca. 1815 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

    John Constable, born 1776 - died 1837 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pencil and paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Isabel Constable, daughter of the artist

  • Museum number:

    302-1888

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case WD, shelf 16

  • Download image

This atmospheric drawing of the misty, windswept seashore at Harwich was the sketch for the oil painting Harwich: Sea and Lighthouse which Constable probably exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1820 (now in Tate Britain). However, there has been some debate about when exactly he made the sketch. Constable's handwriting was difficult to read and his spelling idiosyncratic. While the inscription on the lower right was once thought to read '1815', the last figure in the date is now illegible.

Physical description

Drawing showing a small wooden lighthouse on the seashore with a few scattered figures. Two ships are visible in the distance, on calm water.

Place of Origin

Harwich, United Kingdom (drawn)

Date

ca. 1815 (drawn)

Artist/maker

John Constable, born 1776 - died 1837 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Pencil and paper

Marks and inscriptions

'Harwich 22d Augst 181[5?]'

Dimensions

Height: 115 mm, Width: 187 mm

Object history note

This drawing was the sketch for the oil painting Harwich: Sea and Lighthouse (Tate Gallery, no. 1726), which was perhaps exhibited at the Royal Academy as No. 148 in 1820.

Historical context note

In 1815 Constable exhibited five paintings and three drawings at the Royal Academy, including 'Boat-building' (No. 137). His mother died early this year and he was in Suffolk in May. He left London again for Suffolk on 6 July and remained there most of the year, being detained during December by his father's serious illness.

[G Reynolds, 1973, p. 106]

Descriptive line

Drawing of the seashore and lighthouse at Harwich, by John Constable

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Catalogue of the Constable Collection, Graham Reynolds, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: HMSO, 1973, pp. 106, 108, 109
The following is an extract from the text of the entry:

This drawing was the sketch for the oil painting 'Harwich: Sea and Lighthouse' (Tate Gallery, No. 1276) which was perhaps exhibited at the Royal Academy as No. 148 in 1820 (Holmes, pp. 243 and 245); another version belongs to Mrs. I. Aschcroft.
Although this is also a page from a sketch-book, in spite of the similar measurements it is doubtful whether it comes from the same sketch-book as Nos. 139 [308-1888], 141 [ 300-1888], and 144 [306-1888] of 1815. The outer (right-hand) edge of the page in No. 142 measures 115 mm.; in the three cited the measurement is only 114 mm. (The measurements given above are of the greater, left-hand, side.) Possibly the year should have been read as 1817, one of the years in which Constable was using a sketch-book of 115 x 187 mm.
(See note on number 611-1888)

Production Note

The last figure of the date on the inscription is now illegible, but was read as 5 when the drawing was received by the Museum.

Materials

Pencil

Techniques

Drawn

Subjects depicted

Essex; Lighthouse; Harwich

Categories

Drawings

Collection code

PDP

Download image
Qr_O116970
Ajax-loader