John Constable

The Glebe Farm


Not on display

John Constable 1776–1837
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 597 × 781 mm
frame: 784 × 961 × 130 mm
Bequeathed by Henry Vaughan 1900

Display caption

In 1825, following the death of his old friend Dr Fisher, Bishop of Salisbury, Constable decided to make a picture of Church Farm, Langham. He adapted a small sketch of the subject he had made many years before.

Dr Fisher had been Rector of Langham, and it was there that Constable had first met him. The bishop was to become an important patron, and his nephew, Archdeacon Fisher, a close friend. The finished composition, The Glebe Farm, is known in four versions. This one belonged to Constable’s friend and biographer, CR Leslie.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

N01823 The Glebe Farm Circa 1830

Oil on canvas, 23 1/2×30 1/8 (59.7×78.1).

Inscribed, probably by Henry Vaughan, on a label now removed from the stretcher: ‘This picture was bought at the sale of C.R.Leslie. R.A.’; a pencil insertion after ‘bought’ reads ‘by H. Vaughan’. A second label in the same hand, now also separately preserved, transcribes the relevant entry in the Leslie sale catalogue.
Prov: given by the artist to C.R.Leslie (see text below); his sale, Foster 25 April 1860(97), bt. Hobson or Holson, £127.15., for Henry Vaughan and bequeathed by him to the National Gallery 1900; transferred to the Tate Gallery 1919. Accession N01823.
Exh: National Exhibition of Works of Art, Leeds 1868(1232);? R.A. Old Masters 1872(32, as ‘Dedham Farm’); R.A. Old Masters 1886(30); Leeds 1913(74); Loan Collection of British Masters from the National and Tate Galleries, touring exhibition shown at various galleries in New Zealand and Australia 1936–7 and South Africa 1938–9(9); Tate Gallery 1971(106).
Lit: Holmes 1902, p.248; Shirley 1937, pp.lxxii, 223; Chamot 1956, pp.260–1; Beckett 1961, Paintings: Essex (20) No.45; Hoozee 1979, No.537.

See the entry on No.37 above for an account of Constable's ‘Glebe Farm’ pictures. The history of this version is given in the catalogue of C.R.Leslie's sale: ‘Mr. Leslie saw Constable at work on this picture, and told him he liked it so much he did not think it wanted another touch. Constable said, “Then take it away with you that I may not be tempted to touch it again.” The same evening the picture was sent to Mr. Leslie as a present’. This incident may have taken place early in 1830. A picture referred to by Constable in a letter to Leslie, datable to February of that year, sounds like No.38: ‘I think the sketch of the lane & cottage would be all the better for a little of [?Jn] Dunthornes varnish - & a “flat” - perhaps you will say you are not such a “flat” as to let me have it ...’ (JCC III, p.25). Leslie certainly had the picture by 22 August 1831, when Constable contemplated using it as the basis of Lucas' mezzotint of ‘The Glebe Farm’, which, in the event, was taken from No.37 above (see JCC IV, p.351).

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

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