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    Sale 7635

    British Art on Paper

    10 December 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 6

    John Constable, R.A. (1776-1837)

    Portrait head of a lady

    Price Realised  


    John Constable, R.A. (1776-1837)
    Portrait head of a lady
    coloured chalks on grey paper, oval
    11 x 8½ in. (28 x 22.1 cm.)

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    Despite its unusual medium and exceptional use of colour, this drawing is comparable with other portrait heads, drawings or oils by Constable and has been accepted by leading Constable scholars. An additional point confirming the attribution is its common provenance with the portrait head in oils of Laura Moubray of 1808 (Private Collection, illustrated in L. Parris, I. Fleming-Williams & C. Shields, Constable: Paintings, Watercolours and Drawings, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London, 1976, p. 68, no. 81). Indeed, the close resemblance in features between the present drawing and the oil portrait suggests that the sitters were either sisters, or even identical (another girl's head, in profile, painted in oils on paper mounted on board, with Agnew's in 1966, also shows similar features).

    Laura Moubray was the fourth daughter of William Hobson of Markfield House, Tottenham; she married Robert Moubray of Cocharny and Otterston (1774-1848; knighted 1825) in September 1807. Constable was at Markfield House in the summer of 1806, sketching not only the house (see Parris, op. cit., p. 62, no. 67) but also several of Hobson's daughters (see Parris, op. cit., pp. 61-2, under no. 66). Constable seems only to have visited Markfield on this one occasion so presumably the present drawing was a product of this activity in the summer of 1806; unless indeed it does show Laura, in which case it could have been executed in London in 1808.

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    By descent from the sitter to Major W.H.H.C. Moubray and by descent to John Moubray-Philipps, his nephew by 1944, and thence by descent until Ivor Moubray-Philipps; Christie's, London, 2 April 1996, lot 15, where purchased by the present owner.

    Pre-Lot Text