Constable Paintings


Paintings Reproductions Constable, John A Boat Passing a Lock, 1823-1825
Constable Paintings 1776 - 1837  England, Romanticism

A Boat Passing a Lock, 1823-1825

Oil on canvas, 55.98 x 47.52 inches [142.2 x 120.7 cm]

Walter Morrison Collection, Sudeley Castle


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OIL PAINTING:  A Boat Passing a Lock, 1823-1825

      During the 1820s Constable was repeatedly occupied with the motif of the Lock it could be regarded as his favourite subject. In 1824 he exhibited the fifth in his series of six large Stour Valley paintings at the Royal Academy, A Boat Passing a Lock', which he subsequently called The lock (Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection on loan to the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid). It differed from the previous four large canvases in having a vertical format. Constable made at least two other upright versions of the subject in 1824 (Philadelphia Museum and Art Gallery, and private collection). Then, in this painting - A Boat Passing a Lock , he converted the vertical composition into a horizontal one, extending the scene to the right and varying the action.
      Here in A Boat Passing a Lock a boat with a sail on its way up the River Stour waits at Flatford Lock. The boat is tied to a post while the lock keeper opens the gates to allow it to enter the lock chamber, to be lifted to the higher water level before continuing its journey up river. Constable created an open composition, with Flatford Bridge and a further lock gate and a barge in the background on the right. He depicted a heavy rainstorm on the left, and included a dog in the foreground at the right.
      The composition was based on two drawings with a horizontal format, Flatford Lock 1823 and Flatford Lock c.1826 . Constable took the rainstorm from an oil sketch of 1819, Branch Hill Pond, Hampstead (Victoria and Albert Museum, London), which herepeated with variations on several occasions, including Branch Hill Pond, Hampstead Heath, with a boy sitting on a bank c.182528 .
      Sarah Cove, who has undertaken a detailed technical examination of this painting by Constable, discovered via X-ray that the arms of the lock keeper were originally raised, as in every previous version of the lock keeper