The Early Paintings and Drawings of John Constable


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Text and Plates

Graham Reynolds

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John Constable, one of the most beloved of British painters, is renowned for his poetic approach to nature and his extraordinary use of broken color. In this beautiful two-volume set, the dean of Constable scholars, Graham Reynolds, discusses all the paintings and drawings the artist produced between 1790 and 1816, both before and after his breakthrough into the original style that is the basis of his fame. Together with Reynolds's award-winning The Later Paintings and Drawings of John Constable (1984), the books are a catalogue raisonné of this artist's monumental oeuvre.

The two volumes, one of text and one of plates, describe and reproduce 1370 paintings and drawings in chronological order. They begin with Constable's juvenilia and tentative experiments before he went to London in 1799 to become a professional artist. Next are some lesser-known works—elegant figure studies of girls, Constable's first portraits, and his Lake District watercolors. Finally are the works after 1808—Dedham Vale: morning, Flatford Mill from a Lock on the Stour, A Summerland, The Stour Valley and Dedham Village, and the recently rediscovered The Wheatfield—works that made Constable a major force in British landscape painting. The volumes also include Constable's numerous sketches of his homeland around East Bergholt and Dedham from this period, drawings on which he based his later masterpieces. An appendix records and reproduces, as addenda to The Later Paintings and Drawings, 94 works produced between 1817 and 1836 that have come to light since those books were published.

Published for the Paul Mellon Center for Studies in British Art

Graham Reynolds was Keeper of Prints and Drawings and Paintings at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, where he began his study of Constable's art more than forty years ago. The Later Paintings and Drawings of John Constable was awarded the prestigious Mitchell Prize for Art History in 1984.

"As a work of traditional scholarship, nurtured over more than 50 years, Graham Reynolds's book could not be improved upon. It includes all the known work of the great English landscape painter John Constable between 1790 and 1816."—John Russell, New York Times Book Review

"A truly monumental achievement. Graham Reynolds has contributed richly to the understanding and enjoyment of Constable's work for more than thirty years. . . . This is the most handsome and visually exciting book on Constable to date."—John Gage, Times Literary Supplement

"Indispensable . . . . Impeccable scholarship on an artist whose appeal goes far beyond scholars."—Chicago Tribune

"[Reynolds's] cataloguing of the painter's work comes to a triumphant conclusion with these two volumes."—Luke Herrmann, Apollo Magazine

"With these two volumes Reynolds concludes his catalogue raisonée of John Constable's paintings and drawings. . . . Highly recommended."—Choice

"The lucid text, so characteristic of all of Graham Reynolds' writings, establishes a clear chronology of John Constable's career from the early 1790s. . . . We are indebted to the author for his meticulous scholarship and clarity of expression."—Anthony Lacy Gully, Albion

"A truly magnificent achievement. With its companion volume it provides the most detailed and comprehensive account of Constable's career to date, and is already proving an essential addition to the literature on English painting."—Anne Lyles, Burlington Magazine

ISBN: 9780300063370
Publication Date: September 25, 1996
Publishing Partner: Published for the Paul Mellon Center for Studies in British Art
912 pages, 9 1/2 x 11 1/2
1351 b/w + 120 color illus.