This portrait of Lancelot Archer-Burton can be dated to 1816-18, the period when Constable was most active as a portrait painter. Born Lancelot South, the sitter later assumed the surname Archer-Burton when he inherited the property of his godfather, Lancelot Burton of Maida Vale. The present portrait was presumably painted to mark Archer-Burton's marriage in 1817 to Constable’s cousin Jane Gubbins. After the artist’s death in 1837, the sitter was appointed to administer the estate and act as guardian to Constable’s children. At the artist’s studio sale the following year, Archer-Burton acquired Constable’s celebrated work The White Horse, now in the Frick Collection, New York.
We are grateful to Anne Lyles for confirming the attribution to Constable after first hand inspection and for her help with this catalogue entry.