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Wednesday, 3 April, 2002, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK
Early Constable painting found
A detail from The Daughters of Mr W Mason of Colchester
Constable painted portraits as well as landscapes
An early portrait by artist John Constable has been discovered and is due to be sold by Sotheby's, the auction house has said.

The painting, The Daughters of Mr W Mason of Colchester, is due to go under the hammer on 13 June, and is expected to fetch between 50,000 and 80,000.

Its existence was previously unknown to art historians.

The Mason family lived in Jupe's Hill, in Dedham, near Colchester, Essex - the neighbouring village to East Bergholt, the artist's birthplace.


Mr Mason was the artist's lawyer, and the portrait is believed to have been painted in lieu of payment of a debt.

It then passed through successive generations of the family.

It was found by a fine art valuer during a routine valuation at an unidentified house in East Anglia.

The find was authenticated by Graham Reynolds, one of the country's leading Constable scholars, Sotheby's said.

In-house art expert Henry Wemyss said the only known reference to the work was in a 1937 edition of an 1840s memoir by a friend and biographer of the artist.

He said Constable had enjoyed painting "young ladies with an open window and a landscape beyond".

"It was a device he liked," he added.

Before Constable became established as a master of English landscape painting, he painted numerous portraits, of individuals and of groups.

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See also:

01 Mar 02 | Arts
Rare Turner works go online
19 Feb 02 | Arts
Rare landscape art on show
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