Constable's The Lock leads Sotheby's Old Master auction

Manuscript Man

Manuscript Man

2015-11-30 16:28:46

John Constable's masterpiece 'The Lock' will be the leading highlight of the Sotheby's Old Master & British Paintings sale in London next week.

The painting is one of only three major Constable works to remain in private hands, and is one of the artist's most famous compositions.

Painted circa 1824-25, the work is one of Constable's 'Six Footers' – a series of six monumental landscapes painted at the height of his powers – and the artist himself once stated  “I was never more fully bent on any picture... my friends tell me it is my best.”

Appearing on the market for the first time in 160 years, 'The Lock' will be offered with an estimate of £8-£12 million.

“John Constable said it was the landscape of Essex and Suffolk, where he grew up, that 'made him a painter'. In 'The Lock', his intimate knowledge and love of this countryside is transformed through his mastery of painting into an icon of British Art," said Alex Bell, Joint International Head and Co-Chairman of Sotheby’s Old Master Paintings Department.

"Alongside this masterpiece the sale features seminal works by earlier masters: from Jan Gossaert's 'Madonna and Child', a jewel of Northern Renaissance painting, and Anthony van Dyck's stately portrait of Queen Henrietta Maria, to stunning landscapes by Vanvitelli, the father of European view painting”.

Gossaert's Madonna and Child is described as "the most significant early Netherlandish painting to come to the auction market in the 21st century". Painted circa 1520-30, the work is one of only two examples of its kind still in private hands and is valued at £4-£6 million.

The auction will also offer Vanvitelli's rediscovered View of Florence, estimated at £1-1.5 million, and his panoramic view of the Bay of Pozzuoli, valued at £800,000-1.2 million.

A further important highlight is the last official portrait of King Henry VIII painted during his reign. Regarded as one of the greatest images of the King to ever be offered at auction, the painting depicts Henry in his early fifties and was the last royal image issued from the studio of court painter Hans Holbein. This highly important and imposing portrait is expected to sell for £800,000-£1.2 million.

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

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