back to works by this artist go to previous work   go to next work

John Constable

1776 – 1837

The Cornfield – Large Plate by John Constable

The Cornfield – Large Plate   1832/34

  Mezzotint by David Lucas, as directed by John Constable.
Ref: Shirley 36 i/iv
S 745 x 6084 mm; P 696 x 521 mm; I 571 x 492 mm
Superb impression in the first published state, prior to the addition of the Royal Academy’s coat of arms and with the scratched name and address of the publishers dated June 2 1834. Most unusually, this outstanding early impression carries the name of the printers, Lloyd & Hennings, in scratched letters to the left of the title space – thus forming an alternate first state not described by Shirley. A truly beautiful impression of the freshly completed mezzotint with outstanding tonal range.

The Cornfield was the second of the large scale mezzotints begun by David Lucas in 1832 and, as with its companion piece, The Lock, it is clear that Constable worked closely with Lucas in the production of this engraving. This superb early impression in the scarce first state bears the projected publication date of June 2nd, 1834 – the plate was not actually published until July 1st that year with the formally engraved publication line amended accordingly. This exceptionally early impression carries the rare scratched printers’ line of Lloyd and Hennings, found on the finest impressions of this work, and is prior to any of the later reprinted versions which are considerably inferior in quality.

Based upon Constable's major oil painting, executed in 1826, this image is one of the most famous of all English landscapes and remains amongst the most popular subjects to have been designed by any British artist.

On heavy wove paper with full margins on all sides except at lower edge where the margin beyond the platemark is a thread margin - clearly prepared in this manner due to the particularly generous title space. Generally good original condition, mild waterstaining in lower margin and three small wormholes at lower lefthand corner of title space. One small wormhole to the right of the path in the foreground, otherwise image surface in excellent original condition.