Old Hall Park
A magnificent example of Constable's earlier work, commissioned by John Reade, Lord of Old Hall Manor from 1801
In his early career, Constable was introduced to a collector George Beaumont, who showed him his prized ‘Hagar and the Angel’ by Claude Lorrain; Lorrain’s style inspired Constable's earlier pieces such as this. (see also Dedham Vale 1802)
This painting is well documented by an entry in Farington’s Diary 13th July 1801
Constable called on me & I on him to see a picture a view of Mr Reads house near Dedham. It is painted on a coloured ground which he has preserved through the blue of his sky as well as the clouds – His manner of painting the trees is so like Sir George Beaumont’s that they might be taken for his – He desired me to give him my opinion abt price & having mentioned 3 guineas I told him He could not ask less than 10 guineas.
Constable painted a number of times in the Old Hall Estate over the years which also included a very beautifully finished pencil sketch of ‘Elm Trees in Old Hall Park’ which Constable exhibited at a Royal Academy exhibition in 1818.
John Reade, Lord of the manor who commissioned this piece died a bachelor in 1804, leaving his entire estate (apart from some very generous bequests to his servants), to his friend Mrs Sarah Roberts, also a dear friend and neighbour to the Constables and owner of ‘West Lodge’ (now Stour) that stood opposite Golding Constables ‘East Bergholt House’. John Constable’s friendship with Mrs Roberts is documented on a number of paintings in this period as he frequently sketched from the lawns of both ‘West Lodge’ and ‘Old Hall’
Interestingly in 1806, the park was bought by Peter Godfrey who extended the grounds in 1817 by ‘enclosure to create the park as it is still seen today.
*Joseph Farington, artist who documented his diary into sixteen volumes between 1793 and his death in 1821 which gave in insight into daily life in the London art community and became an invaluable source for this period primarily due to the meticulous recording of events, dinners, weather, and meetings at the Royal Academy.