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Drawing - Stoke-by-Nayland
  • Stoke-by-Nayland
    John Constable, born 1776 - died 1837
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Stoke-by-Nayland

  • Object:

    Drawing

  • Place of origin:

    Suffolk, England (drawn)
    Stoke-by-Nayland, United Kingdom (drawn)

  • Date:

    ca. 1830 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Sepia and paper

  • Museum number:

    261-1876

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case 93EW

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Constable departed from his usual practice of sketching from nature in this depiction of Stoke-by-Nayland by moonlight. This studio composition alters the height and shape of the church tower, as well as the shape of the hill in the background. It is possible he intended to make a generalised image that could be taken for any church and village, rather than a specific site. Ironically, a mezzotint engraving made after this drawing by David Lucas is more topographically exact.

Physical description

A sepia sketch of the village of Stoke-by-Nayland, with the church tower dominating the composition. Hills and a cloudy sky in the background.

Place of Origin

Suffolk, England (drawn)
Stoke-by-Nayland, United Kingdom (drawn)

Date

ca. 1830 (drawn)

Artist/maker

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

Materials and Techniques

Sepia and paper

Dimensions

Height: 127 mm, Width: 183 mm

Object history note

This sepia sketch is closely connected with the oil sketch of the same scene (150-1888, Reynolds cat. no. 330) and with the published state of the mezzotint 'Stoke by Neyland [sic]' by David Lucas. It appears to be a studio composition rather than a study from nature; the church tower does not resemble that at Stoke-by-Nayland and the hill is not topographically exact. The drawing may in fact have been made when there was some intention of generalising the scene into that of a church in a village.

Historical significance: This sketch, together with Reynolds cat. nos. 17-20, was one of the only drawings by Constable in the Museum before the gifst made by Miss Isabel Constable, his last surviving daughter, in 1888. It was purchased from Messrs. Hogarth and Sons in May 1876.

Historical context note

‘In 1830 Constable was a member of the Hanging Committee of the Royal Academy (see the note to No. 321 [FA 38] above). He exhibited views of Helmingham Park and Hampstead Heath and another landscape at the Royal Academy. The first number of English Landscape Scenery was published in June or July.’

[G Reynolds, 1973, p.198]

This is one of several works by Constable after which David Lucas engraved mezzotints, published in 1831.

Descriptive line

Drawing of Stoke-by-Nayland, Suffolk, 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. 198, 200, 201
The following is an extract from the text of the entry:
"This sketch, together with Nos. 17-20 [42-1873, 43-1873 44-1873, 45-1873], were the only drawings by Constable in the Museum before the gifts made by Miss Isabel Constable in 1888. It was purchased from Messrs. Hogarth and Sons in May 1876.
On laid paper, mounted on thin card; as the paper is thin and much scraped with the knife by the artist in various pentimenti, the drawing has not been removed for the inspection on the back.

No. 331 [261-1876] is closely connected with the oil sketch No. 330 [150-1888] and still more closely with the published state of the mezzotint 'Stoke by Neyland' by David Lucas (S. 9). It has a stylistic affinity with the late sepia and monochrome drawings Nos. 410-414 [249-1888, 250-1888, 248-1888, 816-1888, 603-1888]and is a studio composition rather than a study from nature. The drawing seems to have been used for the arrangement of the cottages round the church tower in the mezzotint, and if it was prepared for that purpose must have been made before December 1830 (S.:L., p. 167). The church tower itself on the other hand does not represent that at Stoke-by-Nayland, being lower, squatter and with different fenestration. The mezzotint is more true to the original in this respect. Shirley (S.:L., p. 168; L. ed. S., p. 339) regards the rainbow effect of the published state as borrowed from No. 331 [261-1876]; but though the details are vague the feature in questions appears in the drawing to be a rim of light behind a hill, and the impression is given of a moonlit scene with a full moon in the sky. The hill, if it be such, is not topographically exact, and does not appear in any of the stages of the print. This drawing may have been made when there was some intention of generalizing the scene into that of any church in any village. Constable does in fact refer to the plate at an early stage as 'The Church' (S.: L., p. 21; see also Davies, pp. 31-2)."
Hon. A. Shirley, Mezzotints by David Lucas after Constable, 1930, p. 21.
M. Davies, The National Gallery Catalogues: British School, 1946, pp. 31-2.

Materials

Sepia

Techniques

Wash technique

Subjects depicted

Churches; Suffolk; Stoke-by-Nayland

Categories

Drawings

Collection code

PDP

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Qr_O117763
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