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Constable image

John Constable (1776–1837)
View of Cathanger Near Petworth
Pencil on two sheets of paper pasted together, 1834
Inscribed by the artist in pencil at upper left, Petworth Sepr. 12 1834 / Cat Hanger
8 1/16 x 13 5/8 inches (205 x 347 mm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Victor Thaw; 1996.146
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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."

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.