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    Thursday, June 2nd, 2016
    John Constable, R.A. (1776-1837) View on the River Stour near Dedham, full-scale sketch circa 1821-22 oil on canvas

    John Constable, R.A. (1776-1837)
    View on the River Stour near Dedham, full-scale sketch c1821-22. Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2016.

    A work of genius by John Constable, R.A. (1776-1837), the ‘sketch’ for View on the Stour near Dedham, c1821-22, will be offered alongside masterpieces by Reynolds, Leighton, Lowry, Spencer, Bacon and Freud at Christie’s in London on June 30.  The Defining British Art sale marks Christie’s 250th anniversary. The Constable is estimated in the region of £12-16 million. It is the last great six-footer sketch in private hands.

    Jussi Pylkkänen, Global President of Christie’s International: “Not since Constable’s Lock have we had the opportunity to work with a painting of this calibre by one of the titans of British painting.  To stand in front of this expansive work, is to understand why the great British modern painters and even the French Impressionists revered Constable as their spiritual mentor. Constable famously said that “Painting is but another word for feeling” and later that “I do not consider myself at work unless I am before a six-foot canvas”.  Visitors to Christie’s in June will be able to see a rarely exhibited masterpiece by Constable which perfectly describes his passion for paint and his ability to paint dramatic landscapes on the grand scale. It is fitting that Christie’s should be given the opportunity to sell this masterpiece in our Defining British Art sale which marks the 250th anniversary of the founding of this great institution.”

    UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £14,082,500


    Thursday, December 10th, 2015
    The Lock at Sotheby's

    The Lock at Sotheby’s

    The Lock, one of John Constable’s most famous compositions sold for £9,109,000 at Sotheby’s London last night.  It was painted c1824-25. The monumental landscape depicting the countryside of the painter’s “careless boyhood” was the highlight of the Old Master & British Paintings evening sale.  It was retained by the artist in his studio until the end of his life. The auction totalled £22.6 million.

    Alex Bell, Joint International Head and Co-Chairman of Sotheby’s Old Master Paintings Department said: The Lock belongs to a small group of pictures that define Constable’s oeuvre and genius. The artist’s absolute mastery as a landscape painter is everywhere in the picture and this was reflected in the result achieved tonight. The painting was one of many museum-quality works presented in the sale, an unprecedented proportion of which were from private collections and came to the market for the first time in several generations. The combination of quality and freshness to the market are key in this field and certainly account for this evening’s strong results.”

    As of last night Sotheby’s has sold $237,619,514 worth of Old Master and British Paintings worldwide in 2015.

    (See post on for  September 26, 2015).


    Saturday, September 26th, 2015
    John Constable - The Lock.

    John Constable – The Lock.  UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR £9.1 MILLION

    John Constable’s The Lock will be offered at Sotheby’s in London on December 9 with an estimate of £8-12 million.  It has been in the same family collection for over 150 years and is on the market for the first time since 1855.  The Lock is one of the small group of monumental landscapes, known as the ‘Six Footers’, which for many define the pinnacle of the artist’s career. Depicting a bucolic scene on the River Stour in the artist’s native Suffolk, and painted in response to the huge critical acclaim that greeted Constable’s first treatment of the composition exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1824, the picture was treasured by the artist. He retained it in his studio till the end of his life. It was singled out by him for prestigious exhibitions, and chosen as the basis for the engraving that was to make it among the most familiar, and celebrated, images in the canon of British art.

    Works by Constable are extremely rare in private hands and on the market and this masterpiece will lead the Old Master and British paintings sale.  Of the other paintings forming the Six Footers – the Stour landscapes – all but two are in public institutions.

    Julian Gascoigne, Sotheby’s senior British pictures specialises said: “Constable’s absolute mastery as a landscape painter is everywhere in this picture”.