Landscape with a goatherd and goats (after Claude)
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.
Landscape with goatherd and goats
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
Shown in 5 exhibitions
Purchases and Acquisitions for 1961, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Apr 1962–25 May 1962
Constable, Tate Britain, England, 18 Feb 1976–25 Apr 1976
Regency - British Art & Design 1800-1830, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 08 Apr 1998–14 Jun 1998
Constable: Impressions of land, sea and sky:
- National Gallery of Australia, Parkes 03 Mar 2006–12 Jun 2006
- Te Papa - Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington 05 Jul 2006–08 Oct 2006
Constable: The making of a master, Victoria and Albert Museum, England, 20 Sep 2014–11 Jan 2015
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
Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'European', pg. 36-56, Sydney, 1988, 38.
Renée Free, AGNSW Collections, 'The Western Heritage, Renaissance to Twentieth Century', pg. 108-172, Sydney, 1994, 118, 119 (colour illus.).
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.). cat.no. 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.).
Michael Kitson, Turner et le Lorrain, 'Turner et Claude', pg.15-45, Paris, 2002, 20, 21 (colour illus.). fig.6
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.
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 22 (colour illus.).
J. Constable's Correspondance, 'The Fishers 1823, July to December', England, 1962-1968, Volume 6: 142-143.
J. Constable's Correspondance, 'Early friends and Maria Bicknel; Letters after marriage, 1816-1828', England, 1962-1968, Volume 2: 295, 297.
Art Gallery of New South Wales, 1961 Acquisitions, Sydney, 1961. cat.no. 41
Apollo, London, Jun 1960, VII. Appleby's advertisement no. 424
Memoirs of Constable, London, 1951, 107-111.
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.
Christopher Menz, Regency - British Art & Design 1800-1830, Adelaide, 1998, 58 (colour illus.). cat.no. 98
Anne Kirker and Peter Tomory, British painting 1800–1990 in Australian and New Zealand public collections, Sydney, 1997, 67 (illus.). cat.no. 432
Places of delight: the pastoral landscape, London, 1988, 200 (illus.), 201. fig.no. 182
Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales catalogue of British paintings, Sydney, 1987, 38 (illus.), 39.
Constable, London, 1976, 134 (illus.), 135. cat.no. 223