The Lock - Large Plate 1832/34. Mezzotint by David Lucas (1802-1881), as directed by John Constable. Reworked and republished final state. Shirley 36.iv.; Christopher Lennox-Boyd vi/vi. Image: 19 1/4 x 22 1/4, plate: 20 1/4 x 26 37/8, sheet: 30 3/4 x 24. Published originally in London: Republished Feb.y 15, 1853, by Thomas Boys (of the late Firm of Moon, Boyd & Greaves,) Printseller to the Royal Family, 467, Oxford Street - Paris. E.Gambart & C. 9 Rue d'Orleans au Marais,-Depose. Originally Published July 1.1834.
Scattered foxing in the margins; mat line; toning; otherwise a rich impression. Signed in the plate. Housed in a pale beige double archival mat and a 34 x 30-inch brown wood frame with gold beading. $1,750.
The Lock was one of a sequence of large pictures of Suffolk canal scenes that Constable exhibited at the Royal Academy between the years of 1819 and 1825. The keeper of Flatford Lock is depicted in the process of opening the gates whilst a barge waits in the basin for the water levels to drop. On the left, a horse waits beside a crouching figure. Fields extend into the distance and a church can be seen.
When the oil painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1824, the picture sold on the opening day -- something unique in Constable's career -- for 150 guineas. The engraver S.W. Reynolds, offered to make a print of it at his own risk; but never finished it. This print was made by Reynold's pupil, David Lucus, ten years later. It derives from a posthumous collection of Constable's works entitled 'English Landscape Scenery,'edited by H.G. Bohn and published by Thomas Boys in 1853. The series consisted of forty mezzotint engravings on steel plates; all of which were produced by Lucas.
David Lucas (1802 - 1881) was a British printmaker who specialised in mezzotint. He was a pupil of Samuel William Reynolds, and worked from Bryanston Square, London, upon the completion of his education. He produced prints after Gainsborough, Vernet, Isabey and Hoppner amongst others, but it was his works after Constable that earned him true renown. The collaboration between the pair was one of the most successful in the history of British printmaking. Whilst Turner amassed a group of faithful engravers to whom he would turn, Constable virtually employed only Lucas, and this fidelity was repaid by the stunning translation his work received from 1829, until long after his death in 1837.John Constable (1776 - 1837) was one of the most famed painters and watercolourists of the nineteenth-century. Born at East Bergholt, Suffolk, Constable was the son of a corn and coal merchant and farmer. Though he initially entered the family business in 1792, Constable made a sketching tour of Norfolk two years later, and upon an introduction to Joseph Farrington in 1799, was enrolled in the Royal Academy. He exhibited there from 1802; was made an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1819, and a Royal Academician in 1829. He was given the gold medal by Charles X when his work was displayed at the Paris Salon in 1824, and was awarded the same accolade two years later at the Society of Fine Arts, Lille. Between 1833, and until his death in 1837, Constable lectured on landscape painting at the Royal Institution, the Hampstead Literary and Scientific Society, and the Worcester Athenaeum.
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