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Drawing - View on the Stour: Dedham Church in the distance
  • View on the Stour: Dedham Church in the distance
    John Constable, born 1776 - died 1837
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View on the Stour: Dedham Church in the distance

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (drawn)

  • Date:

    1832-1836 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

    John Constable, born 1776 - died 1837 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pencil and sepia wash

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Isabel Constable, daughter of the artist

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case EDUC, shelf 15

This drawing is based upon the central section of Constable's oil painting Dedham Lock and Mill, which is also in the V&A's collection. It is likely to be a reworking of the painting, rather than a direct drawing from nature. The drawing, though, gives the scene a strikingly different character. Whereas the painting is bathed with sunlight and depicts busy water traffic, the drawing's dramatic use of tone creates an atmosphere of brooding melancholy. Line is hardly evident at all. Nearly all the forms are created with solid blocks of dark sepia ink, with few mid-tones. The tower of Dedham church can be seen in the distance, apparently threatened by the ominous and overhanging forms of the trees.

Physical description

Brown depiction of Dedham Church viewed from the Stour.

Place of Origin

England (drawn)


1832-1836 (drawn)


John Constable, born 1776 - died 1837 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Pencil and sepia wash

Marks and inscriptions

Truncated watermark.


Height: 203 mm, Width: 169 mm

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]

Descriptive line

John Constable, 'View on the Stour : Dedham Church in the distance', c.1832-6, Reynolds cat. no. 410

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

Owens, Susan, The Art of Drawing British Masters and Methods since 1600, V&A Publishing, London, 2013, p. 75 & 85, fig. 63
Parris, Leslie and Fleming-Williams, Ian. Constable London : The Tate Gallery, 1991
Grey, Anne and John Gage Constable. Impressions of Land, Sea and Sky Canberra: National Gallery of Australia, 2006. ISBN: 0642541566.
Hoozee, Robert (ed.), British Vision. Observation and Imagination in British Art 1750-1950, Brussels : Mercatorfonds ; Ghent : Museum voor Schone Kunsten, 2007
Catalogue of the Constable Collection, Graham Reynolds, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: HMSO, 1973, pp. 233, 240

Subjects depicted

Church towers




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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