Skip to main content

A Finding Aid to the W. G. Constable papers, 1905-1983, bulk 1920-1976 | Digitized Collection

W. G. Constable papers, 1905-1983, bulk 1920-1976

Constable, W. G. (William George), 1887-1976

Curator, Art historian

This site provides access to the papers of W. G. (William George) Constable in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2016, and total 59,054 images.

Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. Digitization of this collection was funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

Collection Information

Size: 25.7 linear feet

Summary: The papers of art historian and museum curator W.G. (William George) Constable measure 25.7 linear feet and date from 1905 to 1981, with the bulk of the material from 1920 to 1976. The papers include biographical material; professional and personal correspondence; extensive lectures, writings, and notes; exhibition and book research files; printed materials; and photographs, glass plate negatives, and slides. There is substantive correspondence related to Constable's participation in the American Defense Harvard Group and about the formation of the Roberts Commission, including correspondence with Ralph Perry, Hugh Hencken, Paul Sachs and George L. Stout. There are numerous official reports prepared by Constable after World War II for the U. S. Office of Military Government for Germany.

Biographical/Historical Note

W.G. Constable (1887-1976) was an art historian and museum curator in Boston, Massachusetts. 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.

Provenance

The papers of W.G. Constable were donated in multiple gifts from 1978 to 1979 and in 1987 to 1988 by his son Giles Constable. Four additional boxes of Constable's research on Canaletto were donated by researcher J.G. Links in 1985.

Related Materials

Additional W.G. Constable papers are located at archival materials are also located at St. Johns College in Cambridge, England; the Warburg Institute in London, England; the National Gallery in London, England; and the Society for the Protection of Science and Learning in London, England. Photographs of works art collected by Constable are found at the British Studies Center at Yale University. Records relating to his tenure at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston are housed there.

Funding

Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. Digitization of this collection was funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.