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John Constable

John Constable, by Ramsay Richard Reinagle, circa 1799 -NPG 1786 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Regency Portraits Catalogue

John Constable

by Ramsay Richard Reinagle
circa 1799
30 in. x 25 1/8 in. (762 mm x 638 mm)
NPG 1786

Inscriptionback to top

A paper written in ink probably by Charles Golding Constable has been transferred from the back to the NPG archive: painted about the year 1798 or 1799 when he was 22 or 23 years of age, just at the time he … student in the Royal Academy. Painted either by Gardner or [erased] Reinagle. This picture is the property of Captain Constable, No. 68 Hamilton Terrace, St John's Wood, London N. W.

This portraitback to top

Reinagle and Constable are recorded together by Farington on 17 May 1799; Reinagle stayed at East Bergholt that summer and Ann Taylor remembered seeing there in December 1799 'a portrait recently taken of him by his friend Reinagle' (Leslie Parris and Ian Fleming-Williams, Constable, Catalogue of Centenary Exhibition, Tate Gallery, 1976, p 33). This accords with Captain Constable's inscription on the back.

Physical descriptionback to top

Half-length seated aged about 23, in a green-upholstered armchair, black buttoned coat with velvet collar, white neckcloth and tie, right forefinger marking place in a book; brown hair and whiskers, brown eyes, fresh rosy complexion; red curtain left, plain warm grey background.

Provenanceback to top

Constable's son Captain Charles Golding Constable (1821-79); W. Cuthbert Quilter MP; Sir Joseph Beecham and his sale Christie's 3 May 1917 (69) bought Leggatt for the NACF who gave it to the NPG.

Exhibitionsback to top

Third Exhibition of National Portraits, 1868 (145); Exhibition of the Royal House of Guelph, New Gallery, 1891 (266); Tate Gallery, 1976 (II).


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Walker, Regency Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, 1985, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.

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