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Oil painting - Dedham Lock and Mill
  • Dedham Lock and Mill
    John Constable, born 1776 - died 1837
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Dedham Lock and Mill

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Dedham, United Kingdom (probably, painted)

  • Date:

    ca. 1816 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    John Constable, born 1776 - died 1837 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    oil on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Isabel Constable

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Paintings, room 88, case WEST WALL

This sketch is based upon a small pencil drawing dated 22 July 1816. It depicts a mill belonging to Constable's father, a sluice and lock gate on the River Stour, and the tower of Dedham church. It was the model for several larger Constable paintings.

Physical description

Painting of a mill with large trees on the right-hand side in oil on paper.

Place of Origin

Dedham, United Kingdom (probably, painted)


ca. 1816 (painted)


John Constable, born 1776 - died 1837 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

oil on paper


Height: 18.1 cm estimate, Width: 24.8 cm estimate, Height: 452 mm frame, Width: 504 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, 'Dedham Mill', John Constable, ca. 1816

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.).
Exhibition catalogue
Catalogue of the Constable Collection, Graham Reynolds, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: HMSO, 1973, pp. 69, 76, 77
The following is an extract from the text of the entry:

"This is a sketch for No. 184 [F.A. 34], of 1820. Holmes, p. 242, dates No. 113 [145-1888] c.1812, and he is probably correct in thinking that it is some years earlier than the finished picture. It may be compared with the sketch for the 'Mill Stream' (Tate Gallery No. 1816) discussed in the note to No. 110 [166-1888], a comparison which helps to support a dating of c.1810-15 for this sketch.
Mr. Gilbert Davis has a pencil drawing of the subject seen from an almost identical viewpoint, but showing the water-wheel. Beckett (Burlington Magazine, Vol. XCVII, 1955, pp. 52-5) suggests that it may have been made in 1817, Probably the drawing and No. 113 [145-1888] are independent studies from nature of the same scene.
For further notes on the finished composition, variants and replicas, see note to No. 184 [F.A. 34].

Note on Nos. 109-113 [134-1888, 166-1888, 161-1888, 130-1888, 145-1888]

Nos. 109-113 form a miscellaneous and somewhat unhomogeneous group. Most of them have either been assigned to a date near 1811 or may be compared with another oil sketch assigned to that date. Accordingly, though their general character hardly warrants a dating more exact than c.1810-15 or within even wider limits, they are grouped together here. Their relationship to Nos. 100 [326-1888] and 101 [128-1888], the earliest oil sketches in the Museum to show the full effect of the revolution in Constable's style, helps to justify this grouping."
Vikutoria & Arub?to Bijutsukan-z? : eikoku romanshugi kaigaten = The Romantic tradition in British painting, 1800-1950 : masterpieces from the Victoria and Albert Museum / selected by Mark Evans [Japan : Brain Trust], 2002. 185 p. : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 30 cm.

Exhibition History

The Romantic Tradition in British Painting 1800-1950: Masterpieces from the Victoria and Albert Museum (Prefectural Museum of Art, Hyogo, Kobe, Japan 28/01/2003-06/04/2003)
The Romantic Tradition in British Painting 1800-1950: Masterpieces from the Victoria and Albert Museum (Koriyama City Museum of Art 22/11/2002-27/12/2002)
The Romantic Tradition in British Painting 1800-1950: Masterpieces from the Victoria and Albert Museum (Matsuzakaya Museum, Nagoya, Japan 19/10/2002-11/11/2002)
The Romantic Tradition in British Painting 1800-1950: Masterpieces from the Victoria and Albert Museum (Chiba Prefectural Museum of Art, Japan 24/08/2002-06/10/2002)
Constable (Tate 13/06/1991-15/09/1991)


Paper; Oil paint


Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Landscape; Dedham; Lock



Collection code


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