Colchester Castle Museum unveils new “Constable at the Castle” display

PUBLISHED: 5 February 2024

Colchester Museums is excited to unveil a new single-case display in Colchester Castle showcasing a pencil drawing of St Botolph’s Priory by renowned landscape artist John Constable.

The stunning sketch is dated 19 September 1808 and will join several other Constable sketches in the museum's collections, including a second view of the priory and another of Colchester Castle.

Only recently recognised as a work by Constable, the drawing of the priory is taken from a slightly different viewpoint to that already in the museum’s collections and together they form an important visual record of one of Colchester’s most famous historic buildings as it was at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

St Botolph’s Priory is an outstanding example of Norman architecture. It was the first English Augustinian priory church, founded at the end of the eleventh century and was badly damaged in the Siege of Colchester, during the English Civil War. Today, just as Constable sketched it, only the ruined remains of the nave of the priory’s church survive.

The drawing was funded by the Friends of Colchester Museums, who acquired it from London fine art auctioneers Roseberys. The Friends also funded the conservation of this drawing and two of the others on display by specialist paper conservator Nicholas Burnett, who has appeared as an expert on the popular BBC TV programme Fake or Fortune.

Councillor David King, Leader of the Council, said: “The Constable at the Castle exhibit adds another layer of cultural richness to Colchester Castle. We extend our sincere gratitude to the Friends of Colchester Museums for their invaluable support in making this exhibit and the conservation efforts possible.”

Page last reviewed: 5 February 2024


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