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

John Constable

1776 – 1837

Jacques and the Wounded Stag by John Constable

Jacques and the Wounded Stag   c.1830-32

  Mezzotint by David Lucas, as directed by John Constable.
Ref: Shirley 15, between progress proof ‘i’ and ‘j’
S 294 x 439 mm; P 173 x 242 mm; I (borderline) 134 x 190 mm
Rare progress proof before all letters and prior to completion of the image. Between Shirley's progress proofs ‘i’ and ‘j’.

Outstanding impression with the fresh mezzotint burr printing a rich black to produce striking contrast. Prior to the roulette work to the right of Jacques and across the foreground areas but after the roulette work had been added between Jacques and the large oak tree.

Jacques and the Wounded Stag stands out from the other plates which David Lucas published during the 1840’s for work on this plate had been started under John Constable’s direct guidance as early as March 1830. The watercolour upon which this engraving was based, had been sent to Lucas and Constable from the dealer Colnaghi by 1830 but was removed for exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1832. The watercolour later became the property of C.R. Leslie and is now in the British Museum.

John Constable’s composition was designed to illustrate Shakespeare’s As You Like It and was based upon an oil sketch by Sir George Beaumont at one time in the collection of R.B. Beckett. The play was a favourite of Constable’s and he had originally intended this subject to be included in his English Landscape series, including the subject title in the numerous lists which he made when planning the series from the autumn of 1830 onwards. In light of this and the fact that the painting from which Lucas was working had been removed for further exhibition by 1832, it is likely that the plate of Jacques and the Wounded Stag had reached a comparatively advanced stage by 1832, under John Constable’s direct guidance. This view is supported by the fact that early progress proofs of this engraving exist which have been worked up by John Constable with his characteristic hand-touching.

Thus, although this engraving was only first published by Lucas in his New Series in 1846, carrying the publication date of 1845, it is quite likely that early progress proofs of the sort offered here show the plate approximately at the stage of development that it had reached under John Constable’s personal guidance when Constable and Lucas were still working together.

A particularly fine example on warm white wove paper, with full margins. Very fine original condition. Image surface excellent.