Boat-Building near Flatford Mill thumbnail 1
Boat-Building near Flatford Mill thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Paintings, Room 87, The Edwin and Susan Davies Galleries

Boat-Building near Flatford Mill

Oil Painting
1815 (exhibited)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This oil painting portrays the construction of a barge at a dry-dock owned by Constable's father. It is based on a tiny pencil drawing in a sketchbook at the V&A. Constable painted the landscape entirely in the open air. His biographer C. R. Leslie praised its 'atmospheric truth', such that 'the tremulous vibration of the heated air near the ground seems visible'.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
oil on canvas
Brief Description
Oil painting entitled 'Boat-Building near Flatford Mill' by John Constable. Great Britain, 1815.
Physical Description
The scene is a pleasant summer's day on the banks of the river Stour. A barge is being constructed in Constable's father's boat-yard by the mill to carry his flour down to Mistley in Essex on its way to London. The unfinished boat is shown with a degree of detail unusual for Constable, but it is not painted with any more care than the surrounding trees. The general effect is of a placid, tranquil and uneventful day.
Dimensions
  • Estimate height: 50.8cm
  • Estimate width: 61.6cm
  • Frame height: 73.5cm (Note: Taken from frame)
  • Frame width: 84.2cm (Note: Taken from frame)
Dimensions taken from Catalogue of the Constable Collection, Graham Reynolds, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: HMSO, 1973
Style
Credit line
Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857
Object history
Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857
Historical context
In 1815 Constable exhibited five paintings and three drawings at the Royal Academy, including 'Boat-building' (No. 137). His mother died early this year and he was in Suffolk in May. He left London again for Suffolk on 6 July and remained there most of the year, being detained during December by his father's serious illness.



[G Reynolds, 1973, p. 106]
Production
Exhibited, Royal Academy
Subjects depicted
Summary
This oil painting portrays the construction of a barge at a dry-dock owned by Constable's father. It is based on a tiny pencil drawing in a sketchbook at the V&A. Constable painted the landscape entirely in the open air. His biographer C. R. Leslie praised its 'atmospheric truth', such that 'the tremulous vibration of the heated air near the ground seems visible'.
Bibliographic References
  • Parris, Leslie and Fleming-Williams, Ian. Constable London : The Tate Gallery, 1991no.72
  • Catalogue of the Constable Collection, Graham Reynolds, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: HMSO, 1973, pp. 106, 107
  • 100 Great Paintings in The Victoria & Albert Museum,London: V&A, 1985, p.106
  • Evans, M., with N. Costaras and C. Richardson, John Constable. Oil Sketches from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London: V&A, 2011, p. 20, fig. 14.
  • Feaver, William, Lucian Freud on John Constable, London, British Council, 2003
Other Number
137, plate 95 - Reynolds catalogue no.
Collection
Accession Number
FA.37[O]

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
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