It is not always easy to date these works, though a valiant attempt was made by Andrew Shirley in his pioneering article on Constable’s life studies.3 Graham Reynolds comments on a 'concentrated bout of study from the life which Constable undertook in 1808’, and the present study is likely to date from this period. The elongated figure is characteristic of other Constable studies of this date and, as with several of these, the pose seems to reflect the stance of a bargeman, which the artist had so often observed. It is likely that the model is Sam Strowger, according to Charles Leslie a Suffolk man who had worked on a farm in Constable’s neighbourhood and knew the artist well.4 Strowger had enlisted in the Life Guards and became a model at the Academy.
1 The Diary of Joseph Farington, K. Garlick et al. (eds), vol. VIII, New Haven 1978–84, p. 3142.
2 L. Parris et al., John Constable: Further Documents and Correspondence, London 1975 p. 314.
3 A. Shirley, 'John Constable and The Nude', Connoisseur, vol. XCI, April 1933, pp. 213–19.
4 C.R. Leslie, Memoirs of the Life of John Constable, London 1951, p. 13.
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