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Creator:
John Constable, 1776–1837, British
Title:

Ploughing Scene in Suffolk

Former Title(s):

Landscape: Ploughing Scene in Suffolk (A Summerland) [1985, Cormack, YCBA Concise Catalogue]

A Summerland

Dedham Vale with Ploughmen

A view looking across a valley

Ploughing in the Vale of Dedham

Landscape: Ploughing scene in Suffolk "But unassisted through each toilsome day, With smiling brow the ploughman cleaves his way." [1814, Royal Academy of Arts, London, exhibition catalogue]

Date:
1824 to 1825
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
16 3/4 x 30 inches (42.5 x 76.2 cm) and 25 × 37 3/4 inches (63.5 × 95.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
B1977.14.41
Classification:
Paintings
Collection:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
agriculture | carts | churches | costume | cows | farmers | field | genre subject | hills | horses (animals) | landscape | men | ploughs | plows | river | valley
Associated Places:
Dedham | East Bergholt | England | Langham | Stour | Stratford | Suffolk | United Kingdom
Access:
Not on view
Link:
https://collections.britishart.yale.edu/catalog/tms:5000
Export:
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IIIF Manifest:
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John Constable exhibited a version of Ploughing Scene in Suffolk in 1815, a view of his beloved Stour Valley from just outside Old Hall Park in his native village of East Bergholt. The field is a pasture that is plowed and harrowed in dry weather, then left fallow. The painting was bought by John Allnutt and was the first picture Constable had ever sold at a time when he considered abandoning art altogether. Allnutt disliked the sky and soon asked John Linnell to repaint it. Years later he regretted the decision and asked Constable to restore the original. Instead, Constable painted this second version, and seems not to have been offended by Allnutt’s actions because he felt forever grateful to Allnutt, a total stranger, for being the first collector to buy his work.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016
This is the second version of a painting of 1813-14 (collection of Mr. and Mrs. David Thomson).1 Constable sold the original to the wine merchant and collector John Allnutt shortly after it was painted, the first instance-as he later recalled-of his selling a work to a stranger rather than through family connections and friends. Allnutt came to dislike the sky-the prominence of Constable's cloudy skies was a sticking point for many of his contemporaries-and employed another artist, John Linnell, to overpaint it. Later he regretted this and eventually approached Constable to restore the work, asking him also to reduce its height to make it a pair to an Augustus Wall Callcott landscape that he had just acquired.2 Instead of doing so, Constable took back the original and painted a new version to the required dimensions, the present work; it is about three and a half inches shorter than the original. Still grateful to Allnutt for his patronage early in his career when he sorely needed such encouragement, he made no charge. The version follows the original faithfully, with the addition of a hawk and other birds in the sky toward the right, and an overall warming of the color scheme, possibly to accord with the Callcott. The view is from just outside the park of Old Hall in the artist's native village of East Bergholt, looking across his beloved Stour Valley, with the churches of Langham and Stratford visible in the distance to the left and right respectively. When published as a mezzotint, the original version was given the title of A Summerland; this was a field that was ploughed and harrowed in the summer, then allowed to lie fallow for a period as part of a crop rotation system. Typically, Constable shows the working of the countryside as well as its beauties: the emblem-like image of the ploughman at the lower center of the composition suggests the idea of the whole rural order emanating from agricultural labor. When the original version was first exhibited, he had a couple of lines from Robert Bloomfield's poem The Farmer's Boy printed in the catalogue: "But, unassisted through each toilsome day, / With smiling brow the Plowman cleaves his way." Ploughing "unassisted," that is, without a ploughboy, and harnessing the horses abreast rather than in a line were methods distinctive to Suffolk and the Stour Valley and regarded locally as instances of the agricultural efficiency that made the region so productive and prosperous.3

Malcolm Warner, This other Eden, paintings from the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1998, p. 142, no. 57, ND1314.3 Y36 1998 (YCBA)

Presences of Nature - British Landscape 1780-1830 (Yale Center for British Art, 1982-10 - 1983-02) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Turner and Constable: The Inhabited Landscape (Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 2018-12-15 - 2019-03-10) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Yale University Art Gallery 2015 - 2016 (Yale University Art Gallery, 2015-07-27 - 2015-01-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

The Critique of Reason : Romantic Art, 1760–1860 (Yale University Art Gallery, 2015-03-06 - 2015-07-26) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Constable - Impressions of Land, Sea and Sky (National Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa, 2006-07-07 - 2006-10-08) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Constable - Impressions of Land, Sea and Sky (National Gallery of Australia, 2006-03-03 - 2006-06-12) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Tate Centenary Development (Tate Britain, 2001-09-25 - 2004-04-23) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

This Other Eden : British Paintings from the Paul Mellon Collection at Yale (Art Gallery of South Australia, 1998-09-16 - 1998-11-15) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

This Other Eden : British Paintings from the Paul Mellon Collection at Yale (Queensland Art Gallery, 1998-07-15 - 1998-09-06) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

This Other Eden : British Paintings from the Paul Mellon Collection at Yale (Art Gallery of New South Wales, 1998-05-01 - 1998-07-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

John Constable - A Selection of Paintings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon (National Gallery of Art, 1969-04-30 - 1969-11-01) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Painting in England 1700-1850 - From The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon (Yale University Art Gallery, 1965-04-15 - 1965-06-20) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

John Baskett, Constable oil sketches, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York, 1966, pp. 44-5, No. 13, Folio AN 19 (YCBA) [YCBA]

John Baskett, Painting in England: 1700-1850: the Collection of English paintings formed by Mr and Mrs Paul Mellon : on Exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, until August 18th, , Connoisseur, Vol. 153, London, June 1963, p. 99, N1 C75 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Ronald Brymer Beckett, 'A Summerland' by John Constable, Art Quarterly, v. XXXVII, 1964, pp. 176-82, J10 +Ar81 (LSF) [ORBIS]

Catalogue of the Constable collection, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, UK, 1973, pp. 90-91, NJ18 C74 R495 1973 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Christie's sale catalogue : Catalogue of ancient and modern paintings and drawings : 14 July 1944, Christie's, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, July 14, 1944, p. 6, lot 36, Fiche B51 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Malcolm Cormack, A Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 62-63, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Malcolm Cormack, Constable, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK & New York, NY, 1986, p. 80-86, pl. 79, NJ18 C74 C75 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Genius Defined, Time, vol. 82, no.. 1, July 5, 1963, p. 60, V 2333 (YCBA) Hard Copy also available at SML - AP2 T55 + [YCBA]

Catherine M. Gordon, British paintings Hogarth to Turner, Frederick Warne, London, 1981, p. 8, ND466 G67 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Louis Hawes, Presences of Nature : British Landscape, 1780-1830, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1982, pp.81-82, 185-86, no. V.14, pl. 66, ND1354.4 H38 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Andrew Hemingway, Landscape Between Ideology and the Aesthetic : Marxist Essays on British Art and Art Theory, 1750-1850, Leiden, 2017, p. 255, fig. 20, HX521 H46 2017 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Robert Hoozee, L'opera completa di Constable, 98, Rizzoli, Milano, Italy, 1979, pp. 127-28, no. 408, NJ18 C74 A12 +H66 (YCBA) [YCBA]

John Constable, a selection of paintings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon. , National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1969, pp. 20-21, 12, NJ18 C74 U5 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Charlotte Klonk, Prospects for the Nation, recent essays in British landscape, 1750-1880 , Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, ca. 1997, pp. 108-09, fig. 38, ND1354.4 P76 1997 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Ray Lambert, John Constable and the theory of landscape painting, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK & New York, NY, 2004, p. 75, 103..., fig. 16, NJ18 C74 L36 2004 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Julia Marciari-Alexander, This other Eden, paintings from the Yale Center for British Art , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1998, pp. 142, 142, no. 57, ND1314.3 Y36 1998 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Penelope McElwee, The non-representation of the agricultural labourers in 18th and 19th century English paintings : an exploration into the artistic conventions followed by the aristocracy and landowning classes in representations of the agricultural labourers ..., Newcastle upon Tyne, 2016, pp. 99-101, fig. 8-1, NX650.L32 M34 2016 (YCBA) [YCBA]

National Gallery of Art, Painting in Georgian England from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon., National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1970, p. 19, slide 54, ND488 P25 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Painting in England 1700-1850 from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, The Royal Academy of Arts Winter Exhibition 1964-65., , Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK, 1964, p. 18 (v.1)..., no. 59, ND466 R68 1964/65 (YCBA) Also available on Microfiche: Fiche B214 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Painting in England 1700-1850, collection of Mr. & Mrs. Paul Mellon. , Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, 1963, pp. 73-74 (v.1), no. 92 (v.1), pl. 56, ND466 V57 v.1-2 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Leslie Parris, Constable, paintings, watercolours & drawings , Tate Publishing, London, UK, 1976, pp. 87-89, 93, NJ18 C74 P37 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Leslie Parris, Constable, Tate Publishing, London, UK, 1991, pp. 152-3, fig. 45, NJ18 C74 P372 1991 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Paul Mellon's Legacy, a passion for British art. [large print labels] , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, v.3, N5220 M552 +P381 2007, Mellon Shelf (YCBA) [YCBA]

Christiana Payne, Toil and plenty, images of the agricultural landscape in England, 1780-1890 , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1993, pp. 21, 91, 154, no. 16, pl. 10, ND1354.4 P39 1993 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Graham Reynolds, Constable, the natural painter, Panther, St. Albans, UK, 1976, pp. 13-14..., NJ18 C74 R48 1976 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Graham Reynolds, Scene and Sensibility, TLS, the Times Literary Supplement, issue no. 4178, April 29, 1983, p. 438, Film S748 (SML) Also available OnLine in TLS Historical Archive (ORBIS) [ORBIS]

Graham Reynolds, The later paintings and drawings of John Constable, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1984, p. 152 (v.1), no. 24.81, pl. 559 (v.2), NJ18 C74 R485 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Michael Rosenthal, Constable, Thames and Hudson, London, UK, 1987, pp. 76-80, fig. 63, NJ18 C74 R683 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Michael Rosenthal, Constable, the painter and his landscape, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1983, pp. 69-78, fig. 82, NJ18 C74 R68 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Andrew Shirley, The published mezzotints of David Lucas after John Constable, R.A., a catalogue and historical account , Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1930, pp. 5-10, 169, NJ18 C74 S5 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Ian St. John, Dedham : Constable country, Suffolk Walker, East Bergholt, 2005, p. 31, fig. no. 42, V 2535 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Denys Sutton, Some English Landscapes in Mr. Mellon's Collection, Apollo, vol. 77,ns.# 14, April 1963, pp. 277, 282, pl. IV, N1 A54 + (YCBA) Another copy also Available in Vertical File - V1168 [YCBA]

Basil Taylor, Constable, paintings, drawings and watercolours; , Phaidon, London, UK, 1973, pp. 28, 195-6..., no. 38, NJ18 C74 T39 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

William Vaughan, John Constable, Tate Publishing, London, 2015, pp.38, 39-40, 99, fig. 25, NJ18.C74 V28 2015 (YCBA) [YCBA]

William Vaughan, Samuel Palmer : shadows on the wall, The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, New Haven, 2015, pp. 107-08, fig. 84, NJ18.P19 V37 2015 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Frederick Wedmore, With Constable, The Pall Mall Magazine, v. 21, August 1900, p. 441, Available online : British Periodicals Collection Also available in h rd copy : A88 P17 (LSF) [ORBIS]

Yale Center for British Art, Selected paintings, drawings & books, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1977, p. 38, N590.2 A82 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Yale University Art Gallery, Painting in England, 1700-1850, from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, [exhibition at] Yale University Art Gallery, April 15-June 20, 1965. , vol. 1, W. Clowes and sons, New Haven, 1965, p. 4 (v.1), no. 23 (v.1), ND466 Y35 (YCBA) [YCBA]


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