John Constable
Netley Abbey by Moonlight c.1833

Artwork details

John Constable 1776–1837
Netley Abbey by Moonlight
Date c.1833
Medium Watercolour and graphite on paper
Dimensions Support: 146 x 200 mm
Acquisition Purchased 1969
Not on display

Display caption

Constable and his wife visited Netley Abbey, Hampshire on their honeymoon in 1816. One of the drawings made on that occasion was the basis for this much later watercolour. In character it resembles the designs Constable painted in 1833 to illustrate an edition of Gray's 'Elegy'. He may even have considered using this Netley composition for that work: the figure at the left contemplating a tombstone (a detail not in the original pencil drawing) is a stock motif in all illustrations of the 'Elegy'. At the same time this melancholy image, based on a honeymoon drawing, would have carried a personal meaning for Constable in his widowhood.

September 2004

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