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


  • Place of origin:

    Suffolk (drawn)
    Stoke-by-Nayland (drawn)

  • Date:

    ca. 1830 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Sepia and paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

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

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 (drawn)
Stoke-by-Nayland (drawn)


ca. 1830 (drawn)


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

Materials and Techniques

Sepia and paper


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
Hon. A. Shirley, Mezzotints by David Lucas after Constable, 1930, p. 21.
M. Davies, The National Gallery Catalogues: British School, 1946, pp. 31-2.




Wash technique

Subjects depicted





Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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