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Western art

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Landscape with a goatherd and goats (after Claude)



John Constable


11 Jun 1776 - 01 Apr 1837


The faithful copying of works of art, usually famous ones, by earlier masters was accepted practice for apprentice painters from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century. Considered a vital part of visual education, it often implied homage as well. This is the case with John Constable's loving replication of Claude's 'Landscape with a goatherd and goats'. The English painter took pains to evoke the spirit of his French original, not simply to imitate its surface appearance. Thus the Constable could not be mistaken for the Claude despite adhering to it in every important respect of colouring and composition. The result is an imaginative effort fascinating on its own terms. Constable wrote to his wife, Maria, at the time, 'I have a little Claude in hand, a Grove scene of great beauty and I wish to make a nice copy from it to be useful to me as long as I live... It contains all that I wish to do in landscape'. Seldom in art history has a prophecy of such modesty proven so extravagantly true: Constable went on to redefine the landscape conventions of his period.

AGNSW Handbook, 1999.


Other Title

Landscape with goatherd and goats



Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas


53.3 x 44.5 cm stretcher; 65.0 x 58.5 x 10.0 cm frame

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Gift of the National Art Collections Fund 1961

Accession number


Artist information

John Constable

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 5 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Clifford Constable, England, This work remained in Constable's possession until his death in 1837. It passed to his daughter Isabel Constable (1822-88) and by descent to her nephew Clifford Constable, being sold with his collection at Christie's London, 23 May 1894, lot no. 60.

P & D Colnaghi and Co, London/England, Purchased at Christie's London, 23 June 1894 from Clifford Constable's sale lot no.60

Collector unknown, Anon. sale sold Christie's London, 1 February 1924, lot no. 10

Pawsey & Payne, London/England, [dealer] Purchased from Christie's London, 1 February 1924, lot no.10

Appleby's, London/England, [dealer] Purchased by the National Art Collections Fund

National Art Collections Fund, London/England, Gift of the National Art Collections Fund 1961

Referenced in 19 publications


Art Gallery of New South Wales, 1961 Acquisitions, Sydney, 1961. 41

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 22 (colour illus.).

R.B. Beckett (Editor), J. Constable's Correspondance, 'Early friends and Maria Bicknel; Letters after marriage, 1816-1828', England, 1962-1968, Volume 2: 295, 297.

R.B. Beckett (Editor), J. Constable's Correspondance, 'The Fishers 1823, July to December', England, 1962-1968, Volume 6: 142-143.

Robert Cafritz and Sir Lawrence Gowing, Places of delight: the pastoral landscape, London, 1988, 200 (illus.), 201. 182

Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales catalogue of British paintings, Sydney, 1987, 38 (illus.), 39.

Renée Free, AGNSW Collections, 'The Western Heritage, Renaissance to Twentieth Century', pg. 108-172, Sydney, 1994, 118, 119 (colour illus.).

Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'European', pg. 36-56, Sydney, 1988, 38.

John Gage, Constable: Impressions of land, sea and sky, 'Constable: the lessons of landscape', pg.20-53, Parkes, 2006, 20 (colour illus.), 28, 29 (colour illus.), 91, 204, 205 (colour illus.). 55, illustration on page 20 is a detail

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Western Collection: Paintings and Sculpture', pg. 17-77, Sydney, 1999, 33 (colour illus.).

Anne Kirker and Peter Tomory, British painting 1800–1990 in Australian and New Zealand public collections, Sydney, 1997, 67 (illus.). 432

Michael Kitson, Turner et le Lorrain, 'Turner et Claude', pg.15-45, Paris, 2002, 20, 21 (colour illus.). fig.6

C.R. Leslie, Memoirs of Constable, London, 1951, 107-111.

Christopher Menz, Regency - British Art & Design 1800-1830, Adelaide, 1998, 58 (colour illus.). 98

Hal Missingham, Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, 'Editorial notes', pg. 110, Sydney, Jul 1962, 110, 111, 113 (illus.).

C. Pace, The Burlington Magazine, Article written, London, Dec 1969, 733-738.

Leslie Parris and Ian Fleming-Williams, Constable, London, 1976, 134 (illus.), 135. 223

Humphrey Wine, National Gallery Catalogues: The Seventeenth Century French Paintings, London, 2001, 104, 180 (illus.). NG58 fig.5, illustrated in reference to the National Gallery's painting 'Landscape with a goatherd and goats' 1636-7 by Claude Lorrain.

Editor Unknown (Editor), Apollo, London, Jun 1960, VII. Appleby's advertisement no. 424