N01066 ‘Barnes Common’
Oil on canvas, 9 7/8×13 1/8 (25.1×35.2).
Inscribed on the back of the relining canvas: ‘on the old Stretcher was Barnes Common J [...] Constable’ and ‘Garles Sale at Christie May 1862’. A label on the stretcher reads ‘Mr Garles sale Christies May 1862 on the original Stretcher was written “Barnes Common” J. Constable. no date.’, while on the stretcher itself is the further inscription ‘an early work.’
Prov ...; Thomas Garle, sold Christie's 24 May 1862(66), bt. James Hughes Anderdon, £9, and sold by him, Christie's 30 May 1879(109; the sale stencil is on the stretcher), bt. Barton, £37. 16s., for the National Gallery; transferred to the Tate Gallery 1919. Accession N01066.
Exh: Tate Gallery 1976(358, as ‘Formerly Ascribed to Constable’).
Lit: Holmes 1902, pp.69, 240; Shirley 1937, pp.lx–lxi, 34; Chamot 1956, p.258
Although not accepted by the Constable family (see under No.49), ‘Barnes Common’ was regarded by Holmes and Shirley as an authentic work dating from about 1805. After Shirley it more or less dropped out of the literature but was not officially demoted until sometime in the 1950s, probably following a letter to the Tate Gallery in 1955 from R.B.Beckett, who said he thought the picture ‘very doubtful’.
As with No.49, the actual author of the work remains to be identified. The title ‘Barnes Common’ was used in Anderdon's sale; in the earlier Garle sale the work was called only ‘A Landscape, with a windmill and a stage coach’.
Leslie Parris, The Tate Gallery Constable Collection, London 1981