DETAIL: John CONSTABLE,  Great Britain 1776 � 1837  'Harwich Lighthouse' c.1820 oil on canvas Tate, London, gift of Maria Louisa Constable, Isabel Constable and Lionel Bicknell Constable in 1888 Tate, London 2005
John CONSTABLE | A windmill near Brighton

Great Britain 1776 – 1837
A windmill near Brighton c.1828-29
oil on canvas
14.6 (h) x 11.4 (w) cm
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, gift of Isabel Constable in 1888
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Constable depicted this windmill under a bright light in front of a dark grey sky. He applied the paint thickly onto the canvas, streaking white highlights over the surface with an expressive and dramatic effect.  His friend and biographer, C.R. Leslie quoted Constable’s brother Abram commenting: ‘when I look at a mill painted by John, I see that  it will go round which is not always the case with those other artists’  (Leslie (1843/45) 1951, p. 4).

This is the oil painting that Lucas used as a basis for the mezzotint A mill near Brighton  ). Constable may have painted it from nature or in the studio specifically for the mezzotint. If the former, he would have painted it between 1824 and 1828 at Brighton, and if the latter, he would probably have painted it in 1829 when he first started working with Lucas. The schematic nature of the foliage and the roughly painted, stormy sky suggests that Constable painted it in the studio, specifically for Lucas. The dated progress proofs show that it had definitely been painted by 1829.

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