Art experts discover fifth version of John Constable’s The Glebe Farm


A fifth version of John Constable’s The Glebe Farm has been discovered by art experts.

The painting was initially believed to be a ‘copy’ and was sold at an auction in Cincinnati, Ohio, last year for £40,000.

Art experts now believe it was painted by Constable and it will be sold at Sotheby’s Old Masters auction on December 8 with an estimated value of £3million to £5million.

A fifth version (pictured) of John Constable's The Glebe Farm has been discovered by art experts

A fifth version (pictured) of John Constable’s The Glebe Farm has been discovered by art experts

The painting is based on an oil sketch of the home of Constable’s old friend and supporter Dr John Fisher, Bishop of Salisbury.

Fisher’s death in 1825 prompted Constable to return to the sketch and produce multiple oil paintings of the scene. 

The painting disappeared around 1867, but resurfaced in Cincinnati in 1922 and was bought by the industrialist Edward William Edwards.

One version (pictured) of The Glebe Farm is housed at the Detroit Institute of Arts and the other three versions are at the Tate Gallery, London. Pictured: Detroit version

One version (pictured) of The Glebe Farm is housed at the Detroit Institute of Arts and the other three versions are at the Tate Gallery, London. Pictured: Detroit version

It was inherited by his grandson, Thomas Edwards Davidson, who died in 1994 and was then sold by his descendants last year. 

‘The family clearly forgot, or just didn’t realise what they had. 

‘It’s amazing, really, that in this day and age these things happen and there are still these great masterpieces out there, undiscovered and unknown,’ Julian Gascoigne, Sotheby’s director of early British paintings, told the Sunday Times. 

The painting was initially believed to be a 'copy' and was sold at an auction in Cincinnati, Ohio, last year for £40,000. Pictured: Tate version

The painting was initially believed to be a ‘copy’ and was sold at an auction in Cincinnati, Ohio, last year for £40,000. Pictured: Tate version

Art experts now believe it was painted by Constable and it will be sold at Sotheby's Old Masters auction on December 8 with an estimated value of £3million to £5million. Pictured: Tate version

Art experts now believe it was painted by Constable and it will be sold at Sotheby’s Old Masters auction on December 8 with an estimated value of £3million to £5million. Pictured: Tate version

The painting is based on an oil sketch of the home of Constable’s old friend and supporter Dr John Fisher, Bishop of Salisbury. Pictured: Tate version

The painting is based on an oil sketch of the home of Constable’s old friend and supporter Dr John Fisher, Bishop of Salisbury. Pictured: Tate version

Constable is famous for his landscape paintings and is recognised as one of Britain's greats. Pictured: Oil painting of John Constable by Ramsay Richard Reinagle that hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, London

Constable is famous for his landscape paintings and is recognised as one of Britain’s greats. Pictured: Oil painting of John Constable by Ramsay Richard Reinagle that hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, London

One version of The Glebe Farm is housed at the Detroit Institute of Arts and the other three versions are at the Tate.

This new version is believed to have been painted in 1828 and is a ‘working study’ showing Constable preparing to transfer from the small version in Detroit to the larger scale version in the Tate Gallery, London.  

Interestingly, in this new, fifth version, Constable painted a windmill to the right of Fisher’s cottage. 

English artist John Constable (1776-1837), a painter in the Romantic tradition, is principally known for his landscapes, which are mostly of the Suffolk countryside, where he was born and lived.

He first painted Glebe Farm in Langham, Suffolk, in around 1810. 

His landscape paintings including Wivenhoe Park (1816), Dedham Vale (1821) and The Hay Wain (1821).

He was not financially successful during his lifetime, but has since become recognised as one of the greats.

One of his paintings, The Lock (1824), fetched £22.8million at auction in 2012.

It comes after an old poetry book was found to contain lost artwork from the famous English landscape painter John Constable. 

An 1836 illustrated edition of poet Thomas Gray's 'Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard' is expected to sell for £150,000 after it was found to contain lost artwork from the famous English landscape painter John Constable. Pictured: One of the watercolours which depicts two soldiers looking on in shared contemplation over the tomb of an English knight

An 1836 illustrated edition of poet Thomas Gray’s ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’ is expected to sell for £150,000 after it was found to contain lost artwork from the famous English landscape painter John Constable. Pictured: One of the watercolours which depicts two soldiers looking on in shared contemplation over the tomb of an English knight

An auctioneer was doing a routine valuation at a country cottage when he spotted the 1836 illustrated edition of poet Thomas Gray’s ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’ in a bookcase.

He opened it and was stunned to find three watercolours by Constable fastened to pages inside, alongside a hand-written letter and ink sketch by him.

They refer to scenes the Hay Wain artist was asked to illustrate for the re-printing of the popular 1750 poem about mortality and remembrance.

One of the watercolours shows two soldiers looking on in shared contemplation over the tomb of an English knight.

Britain’s art romantic: The life and times of John Constable

John Constable

Born in Suffolk in 1776, John Constable is considered one of the foremost British artists.

He is most known for his landscape paintings in Dedham Vale, the area in which he grew up.

His most famous painting, The Hay Wain, is now exhibited at the National Gallery.

The Hay Wain was one of six large canvases depicting the area around Flatford Mill in Suffolk.

Another in the series, The Lock, became one of the most expensive British paintings ever sold when it fetched £22.4million at auction in 2012

Despite his works now attracting huge fees, Constable was not financially successful in life.

He also struggled to gain recognition from his peers and was not elected into the Royal Academy until the age of 52.

He died in March 1837, aged 60, of apparent heart failure, and was buried with his wife.

His children John and Charles are also buried in the tomb.



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