Constable, W. G. (William George),
Curator, Art historian
Collection size: 25.4 linear feet (partially microfilmed on 30 reels)
Collection Summary: Biographical materials, correspondence, research material, writings, typescripts of lectures, subject files, photographs, and printed material.
REELS 3060-3089: School and military records, passports, appointment and address books and other biographical, personal and financial documents; correspondence, 1906-1975, with colleagues, museums, galleries, dealers, collectors, publishers and others; clippings, and other printed research material; notes, writings and bibliographies; typescripts of lectures; subject and research files on the protection of art during WWII, art in Germany after the war, art committees and organizations, art collections in the U.S., England and elsewhere, museums and galleries, trips and tours, artists, schools of art, technical aspects of painting and museum work and exhibitions; and photographs of Constable, his family, friends, colleagues, and works of art.
UNMICROFILMED: Research files (1922-1981; 4 feet) assembled by Constable while writing his book CANALETTO: GIOVANNI ANTONIO CANAL, 1697-1768. The files relate to Italian and British artists, including Canaletto, Luca Carlevaris, Francesca Guradi, Antonia Joli, and Samuel Scott; followers and imitators, the Vedute painters, patrons, theatrical design, watercolor in England, and European collections. Joseph G. Links has annotated the material.
Also, letters of condolence upon Constable's death; tributes to him; correspondence with Oxford University Press, 1976-1981; an address book; a poem by Constable; clippings; and "one of WGC's eyebrow hairs somewhat shortened by burning" (1936).
Biographical/Historical Note: Art historian; museum curator. Born in Derby, England, and studied for the bar at Cambridge University. Following World War I military service, he decided to pursue art instead of law. For three years, he attended the Slade School and the Bartlett School of Architecture. In 1923, he joined the National Gallery, becoming Assistant Director in 1929, but accepted the position of Director of the Courtauld Institute the following year. In 1938, Constable became Curator of Paintings at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts until his retirement in 1957. W. G. Constable was a distant relative of the early 19th century British painter, John Constable.
Material on reels 3060-3089 was donated by Constable's son, Giles, 1978-1979. He subsequently donated additional material Nov. 1987 and Dec. 1988. 4 ft. of material on Canaletto was received from Joseph G. Links Nov. 1985. Links borrowed the material from Constable for revision of the book.
How to Use this Collection
- Microfilm reels 3060 through 3089 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
- Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.
- For more information on using the Archives’ resources, see the FAQ or Ask Us.
Also in the Archives
- Oral history interview with W. G. Constable, 1972 July -1973 June
- W. G. Constable photograph and clipping, [undated]
Related MaterialsAdditional W. G. Constable papers also located at: St. Johns College, Cambridge, England.
Additional W. G. Constable papers also located at: Warburg Institute, London, England.
Additional W. G. Constable papers also located at: National Gallery, London, England.
Academic Assistance Committee files located at: Society for the Protection of Science and Learning, 20-21 Compton Terrace, London, England.
Photographs of works of art located at: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and British Studies Center, Yale University, New Haven, Ct.
Records relating to his tenure at MFAB located at: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.