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Oil painting - Flatford Mill from a Lock on the Stour
  • Flatford Mill from a Lock on the Stour
    John Constable, born 1776 - died 1837
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Flatford Mill from a Lock on the Stour

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    England (painted)

  • Date:

    ca. 1811 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    John Constable, born 1776 - died 1837 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Isabel Constable

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Paintings, Room 88, The Edwin and Susan Davies Galleries, case WEST WALL

This shows the mill that belonged to John Constable's father. It is a study for a painting exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1812. Constable deleted the figure at the left - a man opening the lock gates - in the final composition. Constable recalled: 'I associate my "careless boyhood" to all that lies on the banks of the Stour'.

Physical description

Painting of Flatford Mill with water and trees.

Place of Origin

England (painted)


ca. 1811 (painted)


John Constable, born 1776 - died 1837 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

oil on canvas

Marks and inscriptions

'Minna Decr 27th 47'
Inscribed in ink on the stretcher; Minna is Constable's daughter Maria Louisa.


Height: 24.8 cm estimate, Width: 29.8 cm estimate, Height: 452 mm frame, Width: 505 mm frame, Depth: 40 mm frame

Object history note

Given by Isabel Constable, 1888

Historical context note

'In the year 1811 Constable's exhibits at the Royal Academy comprised 'Twilight', and 'Dedham Vale: morning' (now in the collection of Sir Richard Proby). He visited Suffolk in the spring and paid his first visit to Salisbury in the autumn: this was probably the occasion of his first meeting with John Fisher, who was to become his closest friend. His attachment to Maria Bicknell became known during this year, and he received her father's permission to write to her in October.'

[G Reynolds, 1973, p. 69]

Descriptive line

Oil painting, 'Flatford Mill from a lock on the Stour', by John Constable, Britain, ca. 1811

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Parris, Leslie and Ian Fleming-Williams, Constable London : The Tate Gallery, 1991. ISBN 1854370707 / 1854370715. 544 p. : ill. (some col.).
Lyles, Anne, ed. Constable : The Great Landscapes London: Tate Publishing, 2006. ISBN: 1854375830.
Robert Hoozee, ed. British Vision. Observation and Imagination in British Art 1750-1950 / with contributions from Mark Evans, Mark Haworth-Booth and Stephen Calloway. Ghent: Museum voor Schone Kunsten; Mercatorfonds, 2007. ISBN: 978 90 6153 749 6
100 Great Paintings in The Victoria & Albert Museum.London: V&A, 1985, p.104
Christine Dixon, Ron Radford and Lucina Ward, Turner to Monet. The Triumph of Landscape Painting Canberra: National Gallery of Australia, 2008. ISBN: 9780642541635.
Catalogue of the Constable Collection, Graham Reynolds, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: HMSO, 1973, pp. 69-72

Labels and date

Label - author unknown
This picture portrays a scene at one of Constable's father's mills on the river Stour. He has used a canvas prepared with a warm reddish ground to act as a tonal background to his colours which are applied in thick brushstrokes. No single thing or object is precisely defined and the picture is not so much a portrayal of a particular place as a study of the weather at a particular time. []


Oil paint; Canvas


Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Watermills; Locks (hydraulic structures)




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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