Arts & Culture

Cenotaph to the Memory of Sir Joshua Reynolds

John Constable1833-6

The National Gallery, London
The National Gallery, London

This painting depicts the memorial to Sir Joshua Reynolds erected by Sir George Beaumont in the grounds of his home at Coleorton, Leicestershire; the first stone was laid on 30 October 1812. The cenotaph has inscribed on it some lines of poetry by Wordsworth, specially composed in 1811. Reynolds' name is legible on the cenotaph; busts of Raphael and Michelangelo are at either side.

Constable visited Coleorton and remarked on the cenotaph in October/November, 1823. He executed a pencil drawing of it, and this is presumed to have formed the general basis for the painting although the two are not close in detail.

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Details

  • Title: Cenotaph to the Memory of Sir Joshua Reynolds
  • Creator: John Constable
  • Date Created: 1833-6
  • School: British
  • Physical Dimensions: w1085 x h1320 cm
  • More Info: More Artist Information
  • Inventory number: NG1272
  • Full Title: Cenotaph to the Memory of Sir Joshua Reynolds, erected in the grounds of Coleorton Hall, Leicestershire by the late Sir George Beaumont, Bt.
  • Artist Biography: Constable is famous for his landscapes, which are mostly of the Suffolk countryside, where he was born and lived. He made many open-air sketches, using these as a basis for his large exhibition paintings, which were worked up in the studio. His pictures are extremely popular today, but they were not particularly well received in England during his lifetime. He did, however, have considerable success in Paris. Constable was born in East Bergholt, Suffolk. He was largely self-taught, and developed slowly. In 1799 he was a probationer, and in 1800 a student at the Royal Academy schools. He exhibited from 1802 at the Royal Academy in London, and later at the Paris Salon. He influenced the Barbizon School and the French Romantic movement. Like Thomas Gainsborough, Constable was influenced by Dutch artists such as Jacob van Ruisdael. The works of Peter Paul Rubens and Claude also proved to be useful colouristic and compositional models. However, the realism and vitality of Constable's work make it highly original.
  • Acquisition Credit: Bequeathed by Miss Isabel Constable as the gift of Maria Louisa Isabel and Lionel Bicknell Constable, 1888
  • Type: Painting
  • External Link: The National Gallery, London
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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