Missing Constable Found in Scrapbook

By Hazel Last edited 140 months ago
Missing Constable Found in Scrapbook

Not that kind of constable, though if all missing policemen stories ended this nicely, the world would be a nicer place.

A sketch by the artist John Constable, the man behind the famous Salisbury Cathedral painting, has been found after assumed missing for the last 111 years. Constable's grandson sold the sketch of Hyam Church, Suffolk back in 1896 and scholars have been unable to locate the sketch since the Christie's sale.

But - ! In the leaves of a scrapbook about the rivalry between equally famous Joseph Mallord William Turner (lots of info on the artist here) and Constable compiled by a hard-working chap in the late 1800s, it has been found! The elaborate and lovingly maintained scrapbook (there are over 1,600 items gathered together) was put together by Warrington businessman and justice of the peace John Platt who died in 1902 and the scrapbook was bequeathed to the Biritsh Museum not long after he passed away. It has since been kept in the British Library and the true origins of the sketch have now been confirmed. It's a Constable! Almost as good as finding treasure in your handbag.

It was Felicity Myrone, curator of topography who found the sketch while carrying out research and made a lot of History of Art scholars very happy. The sketch is most likely to be a study for an oil painting; researchers are looking into this as well as how John Platt came to have the sketch among his scrapbooks. Makes collecting Kinder Egg toys and gastropub matchbooks seem a little unambitious in comparison, doesn't it?

Last Updated 24 August 2007