This rare watercolour dates to the 1830s and belongs to a group of works of this date which share the same spontaneity and distinctive use of pen and ink. Although the view has not been identified, it is easy to understand why it appealed to the artist. It is a warm summer’s day and the blue sky is populated with unthreatening clouds which, blown by a strong breeze, move at pace across the landscape. In the foreground, a dog paddles in the shallows of a river, while his master fishes nearby. Beyond, in front of the mill, a boy stands on a bridge and looks down to the bumbling white waters below.
Constable was deeply attached to scenes such as these and he noted in a letter from 1821: 'the sound of water escaping the mill dams...willows, old rotten Banks, slimy posts, & brickwork. I love such things... As long as I do paint I shall never cease to paint such places.1
1. S. Cove, J. Gage, A. Lyles, C. Rhyne, F. Kelly, Constable, The Great Landscapes, London 2006, p. 153
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