Reader Michael Guilmet has provided me with an image of a little known portrait of John Constable wearing what certainly appears to be an eighteenth century meatsuit. Fashion is cyclical and gentlemen of that era frequently sent their tailors to local abattoirs to make these short lived but striking outfits. By keeping them in a well or under sawdust with ice when not in use, they could be made to last for weeks, even in warm weather. Evidently the Duke of Wellington was almost never seen without one.
Below are some of the outdoor sketches that Constable made. I have many in books but they are harder to find online. Incidentally Constable was NOT the first to do these outdoor "plein air" studies. While perhaps not the general working method of his day it was not unheard of and the ateliers in Rome, in particular, emphasized working from nature on location to their students.
These first two are definitely pochade (pronounced "pochade") studies and were of the sort that he made in the planning of a studio painting. Below is a little study of cattle that would have been useful as notes when dropping them into paintings.
Below are a couple of sky studies. Constable did lots of these. He stated that "the sky is the chief organ of sentiment in landscape painting.
Tomorrow I will post some of his drawings which I think are far more important to the understanding of his method. Incidentally, the meatsuit part is a hoax.
Thanks to www,john-constable.org for the images and also to artrenewal.org.