West Lodge, East Bergholt (Mrs Roberts)
Believed to one of the smallest of Constable's oil sketches, it shows the home of Constable's elderly neighbour and friend Mrs Sarah Roberts.
Mrs Roberts* befriended the artist and allowed him often to paint in the grounds of West Lodge which stood just across the street from Constable's childhood home, East Bergholt House.
In 1809 Mrs Roberts is recorded as saying that she always thought of Constable when she saw the sun setting through her trees, and on another occasion (November 1811), Constable wrote to Maria Bicknell to say that a view of Mrs Roberts' lawn by the summer evening ‘has’ become quite a pet with me’
Dated May 18, it can be assigned to either 1811 or 1815
Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford
*Interestingly John Reade, Lord of the Manor at Old Hall, also a life long friend to Mrs Roberts, left his entire estate to her on his death. Constable's friendship is documented on a number of paintings in this period as he frequently sketched from the lawns of both ‘West Lodge’ and ‘Old Hall’