V&A discovers new Constable art work


If you love a good art discovery, then head to the V&A as experts have discovered a previously unrecorded oil sketch by John Constable in the Museum’s permanent collection.

The sketch was concealed beneath a lining canvas on the reverse of Constable's Branch Hill Pond: Hampstead (1821-1822). The newly discovered work will now go on public display in the Paintings Galleries. 

The recent discovery was made by V&A conservators Clare Richardson and Nicola Costaras whilst preparing works for the Museum’s major autumn 2014 exhibition Constable: The Making of a Master, opening on September 20th. 

X-radiography had formerly revealed evidence of another composition on Branch Hill Pond: Hampstead but it had been assumed that these were traces of an over-painted scene on the front. As the lining had become loose, the conservators removed it and discovered the previously hidden oil sketch on the reverse of the painting. 

This major exhibition will reveal how Constable created some of his most loved and well-known paintings. It will present the English painter for the first time alongside the old masters of classical landscape, in particular Jacob van Ruisdael and Claude Lorrain whose compositional ideas and formal values he revered and studied in great depth. 

On display will be such famous works as 'The Haywain' together with the oil sketches he painted outdoors direct from nature "which show unequalled skill in capturing transient effects of light and atmosphere". The exhibition will also examine Constable’s collection of over 5,000 etchings by masters including Rembrandt and Dürer, which was a vital resource for his own artistry.

The V&A Museum is located in the heart of Kensington, close to many other attractions, such as the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum, as well as a number of London hotels.