Portrait of Mrs. Edwards
John Constable, English, Portrait of Mrs. Edwards, ca. 1818, Oil on canvas; 76 x 63.7 cm (29 15/16 x 25 1/16 inches), Corporate Membership Fund 58.197
John Constable is renowned for dense and atmospheric landscapes whose color and texture deliver palpable experiences of nature. He applied similar techniques to portraiture, a genre of painting that served as his professional “bread and butter” around 1818. Few details are known of the circumstances of this portrait commission, only that Mrs. Edwards and her mother, a native of southern Wales, were painted around the same time. Constable renders Mrs. Edwards’s portrait with great sympathy, softly depicting his matronly sitter’s fair complexion and sweet smile. Acknowledging the thought she has given to her costume, he lavishly evokes the sheen of her striped dress and the transparent laces that adorn her bonnet, shawl, collar, and cuffs.