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Drawing - A house, cottage and trees by moonlight
  • A house, cottage and trees by moonlight
    John Constable, born 1776 - died 1837
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A house, cottage and trees by moonlight

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (drawn)

  • Date:

    ca. 1830-ca. 1836 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Sepia and grey wash

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Isabel Constable, daughter of the artist

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H, case WD, shelf 20, box C

This wash drawing of an unidentified moonlit landscape is typical of Constable's last phase. He employed the medium of wash frequently in his later years, using it to produce expressionistic sketches that verged on abstraction. These were never intended for the public eye, and would have been considered unacceptable for exhibition by the standards of the day.

Physical description

A wash drawing depicting a house, cotage and trees by moonlight, under what appears to be a sky filled with rapidly moving clouds.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (drawn)


ca. 1830-ca. 1836 (drawn)


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

Materials and Techniques

Sepia and grey wash


Height: 187 mm, Width: 228 mm

Object history note

Although the drawing is dated c. 1830 in the Inventory of Art Objects 1888, Renolds dates it to apporximately 1836 due to its resemblance to the last phase of Constable's draughtsmanship.

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]

The loose, expressionistic brushwork and tendency toward abstraction is typical of Constable's late sketches (see also 250-1888).

Descriptive line

Wash drawing of a house, cottage and trees by moonlight 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, 241





Subjects depicted

Cottages; House; Trees




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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