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This intimate and rapidly-painted sketch, Constable portrays his wife Maria with two of their children. They appear to be seated at a table near a window which admits only enough light to illuminate the surroundings.

The children shown are probably the couple’s eldest, John Charles (born December 1817) and Maria Louisa (born July 1819), suggesting this portrait was painted around 1820. At this time the family were living in Bloomsbury in London, but from 1819 they also rented houses at Hampstead for the summer. This sketch could have been made at either place.

August 2004