Osmington Bay

John Constable

English, 1776–1837

Osmington Bay


Osmington Bay, painted on Constable’s honeymoon, conveys nature’s grandeur on an intimate scale. Portland Island and Chesil Beach separate Osmington Bay’s choppy waters from the expansive, cloudy sky. A handful of people populate the beach: a young boy with a crook, likely a shepherd, stands at right; a mother and child walk near a seated figure at middle distance; and further along, a fisherman mends a net near his boat. These figures reveal the beach as a site of both work and leisure. Constable changed the placement of the foremost boy—overpaint conceals an earlier rendering to the left—revealing his desire to get the composition just right.

Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions 9 3/16 x 12 1/16 in. (23.3 x 30.6 cm)
Object Number 2007.8.31
Acquisition Gift of the Manton Art Foundation in memory of Sir Edwin and Lady Manton, 2007
Status On View

Image Caption

John Constable, Osmington Bay, 1816, oil on canvas. Clark Art Institute, gift of the Manton Art Foundation in memory of Sir Edwin and Lady Manton, 2007.8.31


. John Constable 1776-1837. City Art Gallery, Manchester, April 26-June 3, 1956. 1956. Parris, Leslie, Ian Fleming-Williams, and Conal Shields. Constable: Paintings, Watercolors & Drawings. Tate Gallery, London, Feb. 18-April 25, 1976. London: Tate Gallery. 1976. Parris, Leslie and Ian Fleming-Williams. John Constable. Exhibition catalogue. London: Tate Publishing, 1991. Beckett, Ronald B. "Constable's Honeymoon." The Connoisseur. v. 129, no. 525. 03/1952:3-8. Beckett, Ronald B. John Constable and the Fishers: The Record of a Friendship. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. 1952. Spink & Son. Octagon. 18.1. 1981. Parris, Leslie. Constable: A New York Private Collection. New York: Published Privately, 1994. Hoozee, Robert. L'opera completa di Constable. (Classici dell'arte series). Milan: Rizzoli. 1979. Reynolds, Graham. The Early Paintings and Drawings of John Constable. 2 vol. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 1996. Davis, Frank. "A Dorset Honeymoon." Country Life (22 January 1981). . "Recent Sales - November 21." Christie's Forthcoming Sales. February-March. 1981. Wilcox, Timothy. Constable and Salisbury: The Soul of Landscape. Exhibition catalogue. London: Scala Books, 2011. Clarke, Jay, ed. Landscape, Innovation, and Nostalgia: The Manton Collection of British Art. Williamstown, MA: The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 2012. Lees, Sarah, ed. Nineteenth-Century European Paintings at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, MA: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute; New Haven and London: distributed by Yale University Press, 2012.



The artist, given to John (d. 1832) or Mary Fisher, Osmington; Osmond Fisher, their son, by descent (d. 1914); Osmond Philip Fisher, his son, by descent (1914–d. 1937); Mrs. Osmond Philip Fisher, his wife, by descent (1937–d. 1957); Hilda M. Burn, great-granddaughter of John and Mary Fisher, by descent; [Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox, London, sold to private collection, 1973]; private collection; sale, Christie’s, London, 21 Nov. 1980, no. 73, sold to Spink; [Spink, Ltd., London, sold to Manton, 28 Feb. 1981]; Sir Edwin A. G. Manton, New York (1981–d. 2005); Manton Family Art Foundation (2005–7, given to the Clark); Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 2007.