John Constable R.A., East Bergholt 1776 - 1837 London (ARCHIVED)

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John Constable R.A., East Bergholt 1776 - 1837 London (ARCHIVED)

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Dedham. The Sky Lark, circa 1823

Oil on board 24 x 19.5 cm

This small Constable oil-sketch almost exactlyduplicates the working methods evident in his Hadleigh Castle. The recto presents a transcription in oils of an earlier pencil-drawing, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, inscribed in Constable’s hand: :Dedham The Sky Lark.” The verso, painted many years earlier, shows a study of a crow standing in water. So close in style is it to the studies on the verso of the Hadleigh Castle sketch that it would not be surprising if they were made of the same sketching expedition.

The existence of the Dedham. The Sky Lark was, when it was discovered, unknown to Constable scholars. With its low horizon, gusty sky and poignant observation of nature (more Wordsworth than Shelly) it sums up in miniature Constable’s quietly revolutionary contribution to landscape painting. It is, incidentally, one of the first landscapes to be almost entirely executed with the palette-knife, thereby anticipating much of Courbet, Pissarro and Cézanne.

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