Jaques and the wounded stag

Jaques and the wounded stag

Constable was commissioned in 1834 to design a wood-engraving for 'The Seven Ages of Shakespeare', published by John Van Voorst. Although this sketch was not used for the engraving, the subject of Jaques, the melancholic philosopher of Shakespeare's comedy 'As You Like It' clearly captured his interest. John Martin, who had commissioned the design, wrote in the introduction to the book: 'The interest which [Constable] took in the trifling affair required of him, is best evinced by the fact that he had made nearly twenty sketches for the melancholy Jaques'.