John Constable

Wooded Landscape with a Church Tower

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
John Constable 1776–1837
Chalk on paper
Support: 175 × 219 mm
Purchased 1971

Catalogue entry

T01497 Wooded Landscape with a Church Tower

Black and white chalk on blue paper, 6 7/8×8 5/8 (17.5×21.9).

Inscribed, presumably by the artist, ‘John Constable’ bottom right. Collector's mark: ‘SCIPIO’ (Henry Scipio Reitlinger) bottom right.
Prov: ...; Henry Scipio Reitlinger, sold Sotheby's 26 May 1954(438), bt. R.B. Beckett; purchased by the Tate Gallery from his widow Norah Beckett, 1971. Accession No. T01497.
Exh: Manchester 1956(86); Tate Gallery 1971(56).

This may be a copy by Constable of a drawing by Gainsborough, or perhaps an essay by him in Gainsborough's style. If the former is the case, the Gainsborough original has yet to be found, though Constable's drawing does bear some resemblance to ‘Wooded Landscape with Sheep and Church Tower’ formerly in the Hetherington Collection (Fig.1).1

Constable was a life-long admirer of Gainsborough and owned a number of his drawings, twelve of which appeared in the sale of Constable's prints and other effects at Foster's on 11–12 May 1838. Only one Gainsborough drawing from Constable's collection has so far been identified: ‘A Woman holding a Shawl’, now in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York.2

It is difficult to assign a date to T01497.

1. Black chalk heightened with white on grey-green paper, 7×8 1/2 (17.8×21.6). John Hayes, The Drawings of Thomas Gainsborough, 1970, No.617. Sold from the Hetherington Collection, Christie's 14 February 1978, lot 46.

2. Hayes, op.cit., No.24.

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


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