Constable’s Sketchbook

John Constable sketchbook page spread During a visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum we discovered a facsimile of John Constable’s 1814 sketchbook. I was astonished to discover the pocket notebook size he used. Being about 11cm x 8.5cm (or about 4.5 inches x 3.5 inches) it truly was a pocket size. You can see my fingers holding the page spread open. It gives a sense of scale. The windmill in the photograph above is about an inch to an inch and half high. Obviously I did not have a ruler with me so that is an approximate size.

John Constable sketchbook page spread It is amazing how much infomation Constable was able to record on such a small area. It really made me think about the page size of my travel journal. If you want to see any of these images larger than life click on the photos.

John Constable sketchbook page spread The sketchbooks are full of figures and scenery, many of which Constable incorporated in his paintings.We took photos of the sketchbook page spreads, then ran around the gallery trying to see if we could spot items in the paintings.

John Constable sketchbook page spread I was interested in his drawing technique and admired these tonal drawings.


My camera battery went nearly flat flicking back and forth between photos to compare elements in the paintings, but it certainly was fun to see what he had used and how he had incorporated various elements. I am a big kid at heart!

John Constable sketchbook page spread I was also totally delighted to see he too sometimes drew upside down in his sketchbook. If you want to see what I mean see my video flicking through the page spreads of my last travel journal as I made the same mistake!

You can see every page of John Constable’s sketchbook on the Victoria & Albert Museum website. It is worth a visit to see his drawings.

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4 Responses to Constable’s Sketchbook

  1. That’s terrific and very much my size! I’m not comfy with large pieces of paper… all the more blank to fill in.

    Did you get much art done in London at all? And do showcase all your new stash from CASS. Did you get to the Islington store?? OH, how I love that chain and I intend to use the stuff I got from there now that Art Every Day Month has started. I can only improve, surely!!!=)

  2. Beth in IL says:

    Seeing your photos makes me want to sketch. Always wanted to learn to draw and I know some of it is a matter of practice. Thanks for all the photos.

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