Sotheby’s recently announced that it will be selling a re-discoved Constable painting in early December:
John Constable (1776-1837) is one of Britain’s best-loved and most significant landscape painters. A key figure in the British Romantic movement of the early 19th century, Constable, together with J.M.W. Turner, changed the course of European landscape painting forever. This winter, Sotheby’s London will present a recently rediscovered landscape by the British artist which is one of the most exciting and important additions to Constable’s oeuvre to have emerged in the last fifty years. Painted between 1814 and 1817, Dedham Vale with the River Stour in Flood belongs to a small group of Constable’s early Suffolk paintings remaining in private hands. The work will be offered in Sotheby’s Old Masters Evening sale on 6 December, with an estimate of £2-3 million.
Julian Gascoigne, Senior Specialist, British Paintings at Sotheby’s said: “Constable’s views of Dedham Vale and the Stour valley have become icons of British art and define for many everything that is quintessential about the English countryside. Dedham Vale with the River Stour in Flood was long mistakenly thought to be by Ramsay Richard Reinagle (1775-1862), a friend and contemporary of Constable’s, but recent scientific analysis and up-to-date connoisseurship has unanimously returned the work to its rightful place among the canon of the great master’s work and established beyond doubt its true authorship. It is without question one of the most exciting and important additions to Constable’s oeuvre to have emerged in the last fifty years”.
The painting is thought to have been commissioned by Thomas Fitzhugh as a wedding present for his future wife, Philadelphia Godfrey, whose parents were neighbours and friends of Constable’s family. It is the view from the back garden of Philadelphia’s childhood home, and must have served as a perfect memento once settled into married life in London.