Constable sketch sets world record

A work by John Constable set a new world record recently for a small-scale sketch when it sold for £869,000 at Bonhams Old Master Paintings sale in London recently.

A sketch by John Constable

At just under 10 inches, the sketch is of Flatford Lock on the Stour looking towards Bridge Cottage, a study by Constable for Landscape: Boys Fishing, it had been estimated at £200,000-300,000.

A preparatory sketch, it had been in a private collection in the US for many years and was unknown to Constable scholars. Its re-emergence has been seen as a major contribution to establishing the genesis of the finished painting, Landscape: Boys Fishing, which is now in a poor state of preservation.

Bonhams Director of Old Master Painting, Andrew McKenzie said, “There was a huge amount of pre-sale interest in Flatford Lock on the Stour looking towards Bridge Cottage, reflected in an intense bidding war during the auction itself. Although the picture has undoubted art historical importance, it is first and foremost a beautiful painting – a Constable masterpiece in miniature – and I am not surprised that this exquisite work commanded such a high price.”

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