View across the lawn at West Lodge
A view across the lawn from the back of West Lodge.
This painting was last sold by Sotheby’s in 2009 to a private collector. It was described ‘the view is taken across the lawn from the back of West Lodge, Stratford St Mary, the home of Mrs Sarah Roberts looking out towards the tower of Stoke by Nayland which is visible on the hill beyond’. However we believe this information is incorrect.
The location is actually East Bergholt and the church visible on the hill beyond is that of Stratford St Mary, across the lawn of West Lodge, home to both dear friend and elderly neighbour to the Constables, Mrs Sarah Roberts.
Mrs Roberts befriended the artist and allowed him to paint often in the grounds of West Lodge which stood just across the street from Constables childhood home, East Bergholt House. She was known to say on occasion that she always thought of Constable when she saw the sun setting through her trees at the back of West Lodge.
1813 was a varied year beginning with Mr Bicknell disapproving of Constable’s correspondence with Maria. However, by the May he was able to see her at his exhibition, and where he also sits next to Turner at the Academy dinner, and whom he finds ‘uncouth but with a wonderful range of mind’!
By the July he leaves London for the first time with ‘pockets full of money’ from his portrait work and by the August is back in his ‘beloved East Bergholt’ where he paints the view of the Rectory where Maria often stayed. By the December he meets with Maria briefly and then writes to her to say that after seeing her ‘when I return to my room – I detest the sight of my wretched pictures’