In 1829, Lucas became involved in a project with John Constable to execute a select group of Constable’s landscape paintings in mezzotint, a tonal engraving medium in which the plate is roughened with a tool called a rocker so that its burr retains the printing ink to varying degrees. Constable saw the early proofs and requested that Lucas bring him more examples: "Bring me another large ‘Castle,’ or two, or three, for it is mighty fine, though it looks as if all the chimney sweepers in Christendom had been at work on it and thrown their soot bags up in the air." This large plate was first published in 1849, following Constable’s death, and is based on a painting that Constable associated with "melancholy grandeur," a mood which is echoed here before the addition of figures and animals in later trials.
Inscription: Inscribed in pencil on verso: ex coll Horne
Sotheby'sLondon, 24 June 1926; H.P. Horne sale; Vendor: P. & D. Colnaghi & Co.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art [The Met Breuer]. "Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible," March 18–September 4, 2016.
Shirley 11b; Wedmore 52
Sir Frederick Wedmore Constable: Lucas: with a descriptive catalogue of the prints they did between them. London, 1904, cat. no. 52, p. 55.
Sotheby's, London, Henry Percy Horne Choice and rare mezzotints; fine decorative stipple engravings; legal portraits; collection of portraits of illustrious personages. Collection of Henry Percy Horne. June 1926, cat. no. 434a.
Andrew Shirley The Published Mezzotints of David Lucas after John Constable, R.A.: A Catalogue and Historical Account. London, 1930, cat. no. 11b.
Reg Gadney John Constable R.A., 1776–1837: A Catalogue of Drawings and Watercolours, with a Selection of Mezzotints by David Lucas after Constable for "English Landscape Scenery," in the Fitzwilliam Museum Exh. Cat. Arts Council of Great Britain, 1976, compares sequence of five states for Shirley 34 (the small plate), cat. no. E-1, pp. 144-5.