Constable masterpiece set for £10 million+ sale at Sotheby's



2015-09-28 11:00:04

A masterpiece by British painter John Constable could sell for more than £10 million at Sotheby's later this year.

The Lock is amongst a handful of monumental Constable landscapes known as the 'Six Footers', and one of just three major Constable paintings to remain in private hands.

The work depicts a scene on the River Stour in Suffolk, and was Constable's second treatment of the subject. His first version, painted in 1824, was exhibited to acclaim at the Royal Academy, and this second version remained in the artist's personal collection for the rest of his life.

“This breath-taking painting belongs, together with The Hay Wain, to the small group of pictures that for many define Constable’s career," said Julian Gascoigne, Sotheby’s Senior British Pictures specialist.

"Constable’s absolute mastery as a landscape painter is everywhere in this picture – in the vigour of the almost impressionistic brushwork, in the drama of the clouds and the changing weather, even in the movement of the grass in the fields and the sparkle of water as it cascades through the lock. It is one of those pictures that captivates, and the more one looks, the more one sees.”

Having spent the past 150 years in the collection of a single family, The Lock will now be offered for sale for the first time since 1855 with an estimated value of £8-£12 million.

“For many people, Constable captures, like no other artist, the essence and beauty of the English countryside," said David Moore-Gywn, British Paintings consultant to Sotheby’s. "This is quite simply one of the most loved and celebrated works in the history of British Art and also one of a very small handful of great Constables still in private hands.”

The Sotheby's Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale takes place in London on December 9.

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