• Old Master & 19th Century Pain auction at Christies

    Sale 5860

    Old Master & 19th Century Paintings, Drawings & Watercolours

    11 December 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 386

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

    A country path with a donkey

    Price Realised  


    John Constable, R.A. (East Bergholt 1776-1837 London)
    A country path with a donkey
    with inscription 'Mr. Constable June 23rd. 1813. - Mary F' (on the reverse)
    pencil, pen and black ink and grey wash on buff paper
    5 x 4¾ in. (12.7 x 11.4 cm.), unframed; with an album including one photograph, five pencil drawings, eight watercolour drawings, thirty-five engravings, nine coloured engravings and a newspaper clipping from 26 November 1873 (2)

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    The present drawing would seem to date stylistically from 1796-8, see G. Reynolds, The Early Paintings and Drawings of John Constable, New Haven and London, 1996, nos. 97.8-97.14 and the date on the inscription probably refers to when the drawing was given to Mary Freer. Mary Freer was the ward of Henry Greswold Lewis, whose portrait Constable painted in 1809 (she later became Mary Wilson-ffrance). Mary herself did some drawing and it is possible that the present drawing was a gift to copy.

    Early in June 1813 Constable intended to leave London to spend the
    summer in East Bergholt. However he was delayed by the arrival of H.G. Lewis and and on 30 June he wrote to Maria Bicknell 'I had fixed a day for going into Suffolk-I was however prevented by Mr Lewis's arrival in town from Warwickshire & by a call upon me for portraits'. The album contains a group of lithographed views of Warwickshire by W. Rider, locally published in 1825, one of which has been copied by Mary Wilson-ffrance, who probably compiled the album after her marriage in 1818 to Robert Wilson-ffrance.

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    Mary Wilson-ffrance, née Freer.