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Drawing - Jaques and the wounded stag
  • Jaques and the wounded stag
    John Constable, born 1776 - died 1837
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Jaques and the wounded stag

  • Object:

    Drawing

  • Place of origin:

    Britain, United Kingdom (drawn)

  • Date:

    ca. 1834-ca. 1836 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and bistre and watercolour

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Isabel Constable, daughter of the artist

  • Museum number:

    795-1888

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case WD, shelf 20, box B

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Constable was commissioned in 1834 to design a wood-engraving for The Seven Ages of Shakespeare, published by John Van Voorst. Although this sketch was not used for the engraving, the subject of Jaques, the melancholic philosopher of Shakespeare's comedy As You Like It clearly captured his interest. John Martin, who had commissioned the design, wrote in the introduction to the book: 'The interest which [Constable] took in the trifling affair required of him, is best evinced by the fact that he had made nearly twenty sketches for the "melancholy Jaques"'.

Physical description

A sketchily-executed watercolour and pen drawing of a clearing in a forest. There is a large, gnarled tree at centre, with the figure of Jaques (wearing a tall hat) at middle right and the wounded stag at left.

Place of Origin

Britain, United Kingdom (drawn)

Date

ca. 1834-ca. 1836 (drawn)

Artist/maker

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

Materials and Techniques

Pen and bistre and watercolour

Dimensions

Height: 149 mm, Width: 107 mm

Object history note

One of a series of designs made by Constable for a wood-engraving in The Seven Ages of Shakespeare, published by John Van Voorst in 1840. According to John Martin, who requested the illustration, Constable made nearly twenty sketches for the 'melancholy Jaques'. This design was not used for the engraving; C. R. Leslie chose another one and drew it on the wood block for the ngraver.

Historical significance: The originating idea for the compositions by both Constable and Beaumont appears to have been W. Hodges's illustration of the scene, engraved by S. Middiman for Boydell's Shakespeare.

Historical context note

‘In 1836 Constable's two exhibits at the Royal Academy were the 'Cenotaph to the memory of Sir Joshua Reynolds' (now in the Tate Gallery, No. 1272) and the watercolour 'Stonehenge' (No. 395 [1629-1888]). He gave four lectures on 'The History of Landscape Painting' at the Royal Institution in May and June of this year and his last lecture, at Hampstead, on 25 July. Constable died on 31 March 1837. His almost completed painting 'Arundel Mill and Castle' (now in the Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio; see No. 379 [260-1888]) was exhibited posthumously at the Royal Academy.’

[G Reynolds, 1973, p. 233]

Constable seems to have turned his attention to the book illustration around 1834, but this was not his first attempt at the subject of Jaques and the wounded stag. He made a watercolour of the subject, after a painting by Sir George Beaumont (now in Tate Britain), c. 1828.

Descriptive line

Watercolour drawing of Jaques and the wounded stag 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. 233, 239
The following is an extract from the text of the entry:
“No. 407 [795-1888] is one of a series of designs made by Constable for a wood-engraving in The Seven Ages of Shakespeare, published by John Van Voorst in 1840. The work was undertaken by Constable at the request of John Martin (see also No. 354 [174-1888]), who says in his introduction to the book: "The interest which the first-named took in the trifling affair required of him, is best evinced by the fact that he had made nearly twenty sketches for the 'melancholy Jaques'''. C. R. Leslie chose the design finally used, and drew it on the wood block for the engraver. Beckett (Connoisseur, Vol. CXXXIV, 1954, pp. 80-4) discusses, with reproductions, the relationship between Constable's drawings for Van Voorst's publication and the earlier water-colour he had made c.1828, based on a painting by Sir George Beaumont which is now in the Tate Gallery (No. 119). It appears that Constable turned his attention to the book illustration about 1834; certainly the style of No. 407 [795-1888] is close to that of No. 368 [818-1888] of 1834.
The notes on Dedham Church on the back of the drawing in the British Museum (L.B. 4), which is closer to the engraved version, suggest a connection with the letterpress Constable was drafting for English Landscape Scenery, c.1833-5.
The originating idea for the compositions by Beaumont and Constable appears to have been W. Hedges's illustration of the scene, engraved by S. Middiman for Boydell's Shakespeare.”
R. B. Beckett, Connoisseur, vol. CXXXIV, 1954, pp. 80-84.
Disucsses the relationship between Constable's drawings for Van Voorst's publication and the earlier watercolour he had made c. 1828, based on a painting by Sir George Beaumont now in the Tate Britain.

Associated names

Leslie, C. R.; Martin, John

Materials

Pen; Bistre

Techniques

Drawing; Watercolour

Subjects depicted

Stag; Forest; Forest of Arden; Jaques

Categories

Drawings

Collection code

PDP

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Qr_O117756
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