New Constable for the Ashmolean

October 28 2014

Image of New Constable for the Ashmolean

Picture: Ashmolean

The above painting by John Constable, Willy Lott's House from the Stour, has been acquired by the Ashmolean Museum through the UK government's Acceptance in Lieu scheme. Surprisingly, it's the Ashmolean's first finished Constable. And equally surprisingly it was once (it is thought) the first Constable to ever enter a US collection - it was later sold by the New York Public Library, and returned to the UK in 1956. More details here

Update - the below photo on the Ashmolean's website is a classic of one of our favourite genres here on AHN; The Spurious White Glove Shot. Here, we name and shame Senior Curator of European Art, Colin Harrison (on the right), for 'holding' a painting that is already firmly attached to the wall. But top marks to the Ashmolean for not falling for the other photo-op beloved of the press; The Long-Legged Woman Walking Blurrily In Front of the Paintings Shot (for a previous example see here). 

Update II - I'm told the picture had been hanging in that spot for 18 months!

Update III - a reader would like to point out:

Besides the acquisition of a John Constable painting the Ashmolean Museum has recently announced the donation by Elizabeth and Micheál Fellers of the 61 items of historical needlework recently on show in their "Eye of the Needle" exhibition. The pieces are seventeenth-century embroideries which include dramatic pictorial panels, samplers, domestic items and costume pieces. The donation is being made to the Museum in honour of Professor Christopher Brown CBE who retired as Director of the Ashmolean on 30 September.

Professor Brown says: I am profoundly grateful to Micheál and Elizabeth Feller for this gift. The collection has been built, over many years, through Micheál and Elizabeth’s passion and dedication; and the gift to the Museum, where the embroideries can be enjoyed by thousands of visitors, is an act of enormous generosity. 

I hope this is worthy of at least a mention on your Art History News website. Textile artists are interested in what is happening in the painting and sculpture world even though those worlds do not seem very interested in textiles alas.

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