John Constable, David Lucas

The Lock

published 1834

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Mezzotint on paper
Image: 567 x 492 mm
Purchased 1991

Display caption

The Lock was one of a sequence of large pictures of Suffolk canal scenes that Constable exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1819 and 1825. It shows a lock-keeper opening the gates of Flatford Lock while a barge waits in the basin for the water-level to drop.

When exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1824, the picture sold on the opening day – something unique in Constables career – for 150 guineas. The engraver SWReynolds offered to make a print of it at his own risk, but never finished it. This print was made by Reynold’s pupil, David Lucus, ten years later.

Gallery label, August 2004