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Constable’s mother, Ann Watts, was the daughter of a prosperous London cooper. She probably met her husband, Golding, on one of his visits to London to attend the corn market. She encouraged her son's artistic career, especially during his early years in London, and wrote to him regularly from Suffolk. This portrait probably dates from about 1800–5 when she was in her fifties. It is traditionally thought to have been painted by Constable himself. However, recent research suggests the artist may have been RR Reinagle.

May 2007