Suffolk

Unearthed John Constable drawings sell for £92k

One of the two studies by John Constable Image copyright Chiswick Auctions
Image caption The possible preparatory study for Jaques and the Wounded Stag sold for £60,000

Two newly discovered drawings by John Constable have made £60,000 and £32,000 at auction.

The pen and ink drawings were discovered among the belongings of playwright Christopher Fry, who died in 2005 aged 97.

They were found by his son Tam Fry in a dusty box in 1950s frames.

The drawings were taken to Chiswick Auctions in London which revealed them to be by the renowned landscape artist from Suffolk.

Mr Fry said: "We thought they were beautiful, but we never realised they were Constables. To be told the provenance is unbelievable."

Image copyright Chiswick Auctions
Image caption The woodland glade drawing sold for £32,000

Suzanne Zack, head of British and European art at Chiswick, said: "The drawings were given to me covered in dust.

"After examination, I decided to contact Anne Lyles, the leading Constable expert and former Tate curator to investigate further."

Ms Lyles was in no doubt they were by Constable and described them as "exciting discoveries".

They are "small compositional drawings" in pen, ink and wash that can be dated to Constable's late period.

Depicting a wooded glade, they are believed to be his early ideas for the scene of Jaques and the Wounded Stag from Shakespeare's As You Like It.

Ms Zack added: "What's amazing is that, in a few pen and ink marks with brown wash he creates the light and shade of a composition.

"You can see that he did it quickly and drew a little frame around it. It shows his brilliance, how quickly they were done, but also how he was able to create a real composition in a tiny format."

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