Art on show in Brighton & Hove and Sussex
“…. there is nothing here for a painter but the breakers – & sky – which have been lovely indeed…. “John Constable on Brighton
An unseen masterpiece by Constable has been unveiled for the first time in almost 200 years at the Royal Pavilion.
Labourers and fishermen on Brighton & Hove’s beaches captured the imagination of the English artist and inspired him to produce Colliers unloading on Hove Beach, looking towards Shoreham, Brighton.
The painting is now on display in public for the first time in the Royal Pavilion thanks to the generosity of London art dealer and collector Danny Katz, a former Brighton resident.
Danny Katz of Daniel Katz Gallery said: “The Romantic, vigorous and exciting canvas is something of a metaphor for the city of Brighton itself, and I’m very proud to be able to send the picture home for a period of time, where it can be enjoyed by visitors to the Royal Pavilion from elsewhere, but in particular by residents of the city.
“I felt compelled to acquire it when it appeared on the market, because it is an extraordinary painting, but also because it is a unique large-scale sketch that only exists in this 4ft format and the subject is my hometown of Brighton.”
The painting, which was rediscovered in 2017, is a significant addition to the body of John Constable’s work. Previously completely unknown to art experts, it belonged to the great French collector Camille Groult (1832–1908), who established the most significant collection of British art in France in the nineteenth century.
The composition is based on a series of drawings in pencil of shipping on the seafront, made at the famous Brighton & Hove beaches.
The painting is on a long-term loan to the Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust by Mr Katz, of the esteemed eponymous Daniel Katz Gallery in London. He started his successful career in 1968 while working in the family business of antique dealing in Brighton and is now one of the world’s leading art dealers.
Constable (1776 – 1837) first visited Brighton in 1824, relocating his family to the seaside resort for his wife’s health. With a good coach service between London and the resort, its location enabled the artist to continue working whilst his wife recuperated, visiting his family when his schedule allowed.
He would take a house at Brighton at various subsequent occasions until 1828, during one of the most commercially active periods of his career.
Constable much preferred painting the scenes of working life along the shoreline rather than the bustling, fashionable Regency world of Brighton.
During that time Constable’s career was going well and he was at his most productive. He had completed The Hay Wain (National Gallery, London) which later won Constable a gold medal at the Paris Salon that year and sold The Lock (Private collection, UK) at that year’s Royal Academy exhibition. The Lock is believed to be the highest priced Constable, reaching £22,441,250 at auction in July 2012.
CEO of the Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust, Hedley Swain said: “This wonderful unseen work of art will be displayed in the Royal Pavilion nearly 200 years after its creation and about 200 years after the completion of John Nash’s Royal Pavilion – so it is particularly timely for us to unveil this beautiful and important painting, once again at home in Brighton.
“We are deeply grateful to Danny in his generosity in bringing this wonderful painting back for the people of Brighton & Hove and all our visitors to enjoy. Danny is a son of Brighton and I know how important it is to him to be supporting us and his home city.”
The painting will be on display to the public in the Royal Pavilion, Brighton on the ground floor and will be free for ticket holders.
About the Royal Pavilion
Part of Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust, the Royal Pavilion in the centre of Brighton is an exotic palace with a colourful history. Built as a seaside pleasure palace for King George IV, this historic house mixes Regency grandeur with the lavish visual styles of India and China.
Admission fee payable
Brighton BN1 1EE Tel 03000 290900
Open daily Apr-Sep 9.30am-5.45pm (last admission 5pm) Oct-Mar 10am-5.15pm (last admission 4.30pm)