The Cornfield

Creation date
oil on canvas
12-1/2 x 8-1/2 in.
Credit line
The Clowes Collection
Accession number
Currently On View

This small oil sketch was made by Constable as a preparatory study for a painting he referred to as "The Drinking Boy." The loosely painted reclining figure of a boy drinking from a pool of water is barely detectable in the lower left corner of the painting. The sketch was probably painted on site, at the edge of a footpath leading from East Bergholt towards Dedham.

The finished, full-scale version of this painting is in the National Gallery in London.

Probably sold with the artist's estate in 1838;Radford.{1}(Thomas Agnew, London).{2} George Eames, Boston, probably before 1920; presumably by descent to Alfred Eames, Boston.{3} Dr. George Henry Alexander Clowes [1877-1958], Indianapolis, by 1941; The Clowes Fund Collection, Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1958-present; IMA.

{1}This early provenance is suggested by Charles Rhyne in his essay "Discoveries in the Exhibition" included in the catalogue John Constable, R.A. (1776-1837): An Exhibition, Paintings, Drawings, Watercolors, Mezzotints held at Salander-O-Reilly Galleries, New York, 1988, p. 18, plate 25. Rhyne believes the painting was included in the auction Foster and Sons, London, Finished works, studies and sketches of John Constable, 16 May 1838, part of lot 14.
{2} As given in the exhibition catalogue, Early British Masters, 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries (assembled from Indiana collections), John Herron Art Museum, Indianapolis, 1941, no. 3 (ill.), now known as the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
{3}As given in the catalogue, Paintings from the Collection of George Henry Alexander Clowes: A Memorial Exhibition, John Herron Art Museum, Indianapolis, 1959, cat. no. 15 (ill.)
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