Sketch for "A Boat Passing a Lock"
Sketch for the painting in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Madrid
John Constable, English, 1776 - 1837
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On the far right a barge waits for the sluice gates to open and lower the water level. The navigator, in a red waistcoat, has just put down his fishing pole to work the lock. In a letter to a friend the artist expressed his enthusiasm for this kind of subject: "The sound of water escaping from Mill dams . . . Willows, Old rotten Banks, slimy posts, & brickwork. I love such things. . . . As long as I do paint I shall never cease to paint such Places." This is a preliminary version of a painting that, exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1824, became Constable's most popular work up to that time.
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