Constable’s ‘The Lock’ could fetch £12m

Painting by John Constable last appeared at auction 150 years ago when it sold for £860 to a wealthy English family who have owned it since

One of the most important paintings to appear at auction this year will be offered at Sotheby's in London on Wednesday (December 9th) when The Lock by John Constable goes under the hammer with an estimate of £8-12 million.

It last appeared at auction 150 years ago when it sold for £860 to a wealthy English family who have owned it since.

The painting depicts a scene on the river Stour in the artist’s native Suffolk and was described by Sotheby’s as “quite simply one of the most loved and celebrated works in the history of British art”. It is “one of only three major paintings by Constable left in a private collection”.

Constable's best known painting, The Hay Wain, hangs in the National Gallery in London, and is widely regarded as one of the most famous and popular images in British art history.

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David Moore-Gwyn, British paintings consultant to Sotheby’s, said: “For many people Constable captures, like no other artist, the essence and beauty of the English countryside.”