Cottage at Capel, Suffolk

Cottage at Capel, Suffolk

This drawing of a cottage at Capel, Suffolk, is one of the earliest dated drawings by Constable of which the whereabouts are now known. The light, schematic, somewhat tentative style is typical of his early work. In 1796, the year Constable created the sketchbook from which this drawing comes, he had not yet committed himself to an artistic career; it was assumed that he would enter his father's business. The same year, he met the writer J. T. 'Antiquity' Smith, who was collecting material for a book on rural scenery. Constable offered him several sketches of local cottages for possible inclusion in the book. Although Smith responded positively, he ultimately chose not to include any of Constable's cottage sketches in the published book.