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Watercolour - Stonehenge


  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Salisbury (probably, painted)

  • Date:

    1835 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    John Constable, born 1776 - died 1837 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Isabel Constable, daughter of the artist

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room WS, case R, shelf 86, box R

Constable painted this watercolour at a sad time in his life. Both his wife, Maria, and his closest friend, John Fisher, had died, and his two eldest sons had left home. He is perhaps expressing his personal unhappiness in the watercolour, for the image is certainly a melancholy one. The painting was exhibited in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition of 1836. Some of the lines that accompanied this painting in the catalogue describe 'The mysterious monument of Stonehenge, standing remote on a bare and boundless heath...'. Constable himself probably wrote them.

Physical description

Watercolour of stonehenge with a colourful sky.

Place of Origin

Salisbury (probably, painted)


1835 (painted)


John Constable, born 1776 - died 1837 (artist)

Materials and Techniques


Marks and inscriptions

'Stonehenge" The mysterious monument of Stonehenge, standing remote on a bare and boundless heath, as much unconnected with the events of past ages as it is with the uses of the present, carries you back beyond all historical records into the obscurity of a totally unknown period"'
Inscribed on the mount in ink in a careful script.


Height: 38.7 cm, Width: 59.7 cm, Height: 575 mm Oak frame, Width: 783 mm Oak frame, Depth: 21 mm Oak frame

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

Watercolour, 'Stonehenge' by Constable, 1835

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.)
Making History : Antiquaries in Britain 1707-2007, London : Royal Academy of Arts, 2007
Catalogue of the Constable Collection, Graham Reynolds, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: HMSO, 1973, p. 233
Evans, M., with N. Costaras and C. Richardson, John Constable. Oil Sketches from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London: V&A, 2011, p. 33, fig. 31.
Lambert, Susan. Drawing: Technique & Purpose. London: Victoria & Albert Museum, 1981. p.53.
Timothy Wilcox, Constable and Salisbury. The Soul of Landscape London: Scala Publishers Ltd, 2011. ISBN: 978 1 85759 678 6.
p.73, pl.61
Coombs, Katherine British watercolours : 1750-1950 . London: V&A Publications, 2012
Elizabeth Mankin Kornhauser and T. J. Barringer Thomas Cole's journey : Atlantic crossings New York : The Metropolitan Museum of Art, [2018]. ISBN: 9781588396402
p. 177
Royal Academy of Arts Bicentenary Exhibition, 1768-1968, London : Royal Academy of Arts, 1968
La Peinture Romantique Anglaise et les Préraphaélites, Paris : Petit Palais, 1972
Taylor, Basil, Constable: Paintings, drawings and watercolours, London, Phaidon, 1973

Subjects depicted

Landscape; Romanticism


Drawings; Paintings


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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