Lot 116

Study of an entrance gate to a park
Pencil on wove writing paper
171 x 109 mm (6 3/4 x 4 1/4 in)
Provenance: Mr Ewer, 1950; Leonard G. Duke (D 2181, ‘Trees & Gateway’); sold, through Chamberlain, Oct 1951, for £11-10/-0′; Christopher Fry and thence by descent

Although this is an accomplished drawing which shares some features in common with Constable’s early drawing style, it cannot be attributed with any degree of certainty to his hand.

As Peter Bower points out, the combination of the irregularly cut left hand edge and the slightly rounded corners at top and bottom right indicate that the paper on which this drawing was made has been removed from a sketchbook. Bower notes that its page size and partial watermark (identifying the paper as one made by James Tayler at Poll Mill, Boxley, near Maidstone) do not correspond with any of John Constable’s surviving sketchbooks. On the other hand, Bower points out that this is not unusual.

Furthermore, Constable did use sketchbooks of a similar page size in around 1806 when he was visiting a number of country houses in connection with portrait commissions. Bower meanwhile observes that the gateposts shown in the drawing might be identifiable as those marking the entrance to Malvern Hall which Constable first visited in 1809.

We are grateful to Anne Lyles and Peter Bower for their assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.

Estimate: £4,000-£6,000