John Constable’s fingerprints on an outdoor painting | News

A fingerprint has been found at the dawn of outdoor painting in Britain – left when John Constable tried to stop his paper from blowing in the wind.

Constable Research Sky study with a solar skylight by the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge unearthed the fingerprint believed to have been left when he tied paper to his easel. The 1822 oil painting was created about a decade after the groundbreaking launch of Constable outside practice.

It was not until the early 19th century that plein air painting became widely practiced and Constable was a pioneer for the Impressionists. The availability of paint tubes, rather than the cumbersome mixing of paints with the grinding of raw pigments, was a crucial factor in the development.

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