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Drawing - View at East Bergholt over the kitchen garden of Golding Constable's house
  • View at East Bergholt over the kitchen garden of Golding Constable's house
    Constable, John RA, born 1776 - died 1837
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View at East Bergholt over the kitchen garden of Golding Constable's house

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain, uk (drawn)

  • Date:

    ca. 1812-1816 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Constable, John RA, born 1776 - died 1837 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pencil on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Isabel Constable, daughter of the artist

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

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

Constable's characteristic use of zigzag shading is very much in evidence in this large and densely worked pencil drawing. He shows people working in his father’s kitchen garden to the right, and there is a cowherd to the left.

Constable had a life-long and rather nostalgic interest in agricultural work. He saw it as a 'natural' and satisfying employment. In fact, by the time that Constable was practising as an artist, traditional rural life had changed dramatically. Before the mid 18th century, land was usually farmed in strips that were owned by different individuals. With enclosure, these strips were reorganised into fields surrounded by hedges or fences. You can see this clearly in the background of the drawing. This was an expensive process. It meant that many poorer farmers were forced to sell their strips to wealthy landowners. Common land disappeared, so they could no longer graze their animals. Consequently, many moved to the new industrial towns and cities in order to survive.

Physical description

Very detailed sketch of a farmhouse with fields.

Place of Origin

Great Britain, uk (drawn)


ca. 1812-1816 (drawn)


Constable, John RA, born 1776 - died 1837 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Pencil on paper

Marks and inscriptions

J RUSE 1804
Mr. Constable
From the Garden


Height: 302 mm, Width: 449 mm

Historical context note

In 1819 Constable exhibited at the Royal Academy 'A scene on the River Stour' ('The White Horse'), bought by John Fisher, and now in the Frick Collection, New York (see the sketch-book No. 132, pp. 66 and 70). His second child Maria Louisa (Minna) was born on 19 July. He took a house at Hampstead for the first time at the end of the summer. He was elected A.R.A. on 1 November.

[G Reynolds, 1973, p. 121]

Descriptive line

John Constable, 'View at East Bergholt over the kitchen garden of Golding Constable's house', c.1812-16, Reynolds cat. no. 176

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
Grey, Anne and John Gage Constable. Impressions of Land, Sea and Sky Canberra: National Gallery of Australia, 2006. ISBN: 0642541566.
Exhibition catalogue.
Catalogue of the Constable Collection, Graham Reynolds, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: HMSO, 1973, pp. 121, 124-125
The following is an extract from the text of the entry:

It has been laid down by the artist on a mount formed of two sheets of paper.

The second inscription [The garden belonging to G Constable Esq.], which would seem to have been the original one, suggests, if correctly transcribed, that the drawing was made before the death of Constable’s father, which occurred in 1816. The drawing may therefore be dated, bearing the watermark in mind, c.1812 to 1816. The house was sold by November 1818 (Beckett, I, p. 172), which provides an extreme date. Holmes, p. 242, compares this drawing with No. 133 [437-1888], the small page from a sketch-book showing two views of Golding Constable’s house, but the resemblance is one of subject matter rather than style. Two oil paintings in the Ipswich Museum (given by the National Art-Collections Fund in 1955 from the E. E. Cook collection) were described in the sale of paintings formerly the property of Captain Charles Constable held at Messrs. Christie’s, 11 July 1887, as:
Lot 85 The Kitchen Garden of the House of Golding Constable, father of John Constable, with the mill, at which the latter worked, in the distance.
Lot 86 The Flower Garden of the House of Golding Constable.
Charles Rhyne has pointed out that the two paintings at Ipswich form a panorama; that the scene in No. 176 [623-1888] overlaps them both, and that the sketchbook page No. 132 [1259-1888], p. 38 shows the middle distance of the view seen here. He takes them all to be scenes from an upper window of Golding Constable’s house.

Exhibition History

John Constable (Wolsey Art Gallery, Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich 22 Mar 2013-30 June 2013)
Constable. Impressions of Land, Sea and Sky (Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington 05/07/2006-08/10/2006)
Constable. Impressions of Land, Sea and Sky (National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 03/03/2006-12/06/2006)
Art of the garden (Manchester Art Gallery 05/03/2005-30/05/2005)
Art of the garden (Ulster Museum 01/10/2004-06/02/2005)
Art of the garden (Tate Gallery 03/06/2004-30/08/2004)
John Constable, selected by Lucian Freud (Grand Palais 10/10/2002-13/01/2003)
Constable (Tate Gallery 13/06/1991-15/09/1991)

Subjects depicted

Landscape; Kitchen gardens


Drawings; Gardens & Gardening

Collection code


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