formerly attributed to John Constable

Hadleigh Castle

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Formerly attributed to John Constable 1776–1837
Graphite on paper
Support: 127 × 184 mm
Purchased 1969

Catalogue entry

T01146 Hadleigh Castle

Pencil, 5×7 3/10 (12.7×18.3).

Inscribed: there are traces of an erased inscription along the bottom edge.
Watermark: a fragment of the mark ‘TURKEY MILL 1800’.

Prov: one of a group of works sold by Ella Constable (Mrs Mackinnon) through Leggatt's in the 1890s to Sir Henry Newson-Smith, Bart.; his son, Sir Frank Newson-Smith, Bart., sold Christie's 26 January 1951 (14, with two others: No.54 below and ‘Portland Harbour’), bt. R.B.Beckett, from whom purchased by the Tate Gallery with funds from the Gytha Trust 1969. Accession No. T01146.

Lit: Beckett 1961, Drawings: Essex(20) No.95; R.B.Beckett, ‘John Constable's “Hadleigh Castle”’, The Art Quarterly, XXVI, 1963, p.420.

This drawing was first published in 1963 by R.B.Beckett, who suggested that it may have been made during a visit to the Revd W.W.Driffield at Feering a few years after Constable's only certainly documented stay there in 1814 (when he made the drawing which was to become the basis of his 1829 painting of Hadleigh Castle: see No.33 above). The attribution seemed acceptable when the drawing was acquired in 1969 but more intensive study of the artist's work in preparation for the 1976 Tate Gallery exhibition led to the conclusion that the draughtsmanship was too feeble to be Constable's, the form of the tower being particularly weakly described. Subsequently, in a lecture on ‘Constable and the Ruin Theme’ delivered at the Tate Gallery on 30 March 1976, Louis Hawes pointed out the connection between No.51 and an engraving of Hadleigh Castle (by J. Greig after Henry Gastineau) published in T.Cromwell's Excursions in the County of Essex, 1818–19, I, facing p.141 (Fig.1). Although there are a number of differences between the two works, No.51 may have been based on this engraving. Since it originated in the Constable family, the drawing may possibly be by one of Constable's children. No.54 below, now attributed to Lionel Constable, has the same provenance.

Published in:
Leslie Parris, The Tate Gallery Constable Collection, London 1981



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