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Drawing - River scene at Mistley, Essex
  • River scene at Mistley, Essex
    John Constable, born 1776 - died 1837
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River scene at Mistley, Essex

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Essex (drawn)

  • Date:

    c. 1817-1819 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pencil and paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Isabel Constable, daughter of the artist

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case THURS, shelf SH6

Two of Constable's drawings of Mistley, a river port near Harwich, are in the Museum's collection. This view of the approach to Mistley by river, made either in 1817 or 1819, depicts the town in greater detail than the earlier view (1813). In the distance can be seen the twin towers of Mistley church, which was designed by the eminent architect Robert Adam.

Physical description

A pencil drawing of a river, with three ships, their sails furled, receding into the distance. At lower right a man in a barge. The riverbank is wooded; the town of Mistley, with its twin-towered church, appears indistinctly in the distance.

Place of Origin

Essex (drawn)


c. 1817-1819 (drawn)


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

Materials and Techniques

Pencil and paper

Marks and inscriptions

'20', followed by an indistinct word
According to Reynolds, the indistinct word after '20' may be 'Aug'.


Height: 116 mm, Width: 186 mm

Object history note

This drawing, a page from a sketchbook, may have been made in 1817, when Constable is known to have made another drawing on the same site. Mistley Church, whose twin towers appear in the distance, was designed by Robert Adam.

Historical context note

In 1819 Constable exhibited at the Royal Academy 'A scene on the River Stour' ('The White Horse'), bought by John Fisher, and now in the Frick Collection, New York (see the sketch-book No. 132, pp. 66 and 70). His second child Maria Louisa (Minna) was born on 19 July. He took a house at Hampstead for the first time at the end of the summer. He was elected A.R.A. on 1 November.

[G Reynolds, 1973, p. 121]

Descriptive line

Drawing of a river scene at Mistley, 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. 121, 126

Production Note

Drawing is listed under 189 in Reynolds catalogue, although there is a possiblity is dates from 1817; there is an indistinct inscription in the lower right corner that reads '20', followed by an indistinct word, which Reynolds guesses might be 'Aug'.





Subjects depicted

River; Ship




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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