View of Cathanger Near Petworth
Inscribed by the artist in pencil at upper left, Petworth Sepr. 12 1834 / Cat Hanger
Pencil on two sheets of paper pasted together
8 1/16 x 13 5/8 inches (205 x 347 mm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Victor Thaw
Constable sought to perfect "a natural painture," rejecting the dramatic Sublime in favor of emotional response to the ordinary wonders of the world and studying the rural landscape as a primitive source of artistic perfection. In 1834 he spent two weeks sketching at Petworth in West Sussex at the invitation of Lord Egremont. "I never saw such beauty in natural landscape before. I wish it may influence what I may do in the future, for I have too much preferred the picturesque to the beautiful." This view of Cathanger Farm is the first dated drawing made during his visit. Looking out over a bend in the River Rother, Constable dwelled on the agricultural landscape of fenced meadow beneath a suggestion of vast sky, "the chief 'Organ of sentiment' . . . the 'source of light' in nature [which] governs every thing."