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BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833)<br />
Pic: McTear's/BNPS<br />
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John Constable's book of sketches. <br />
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His paintings sell for millions, but art fans could own a special book illustrated by one of Britain's most famous painters for £40,000.<br />
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John Constable, whose paintings are among the most popular and valuable in British art, added eight watercolour sketches in a copy of Songs, Divine and Moral.<br />
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The unique book is a collection of moralistic poetry written by Isaac Watts which Constable gave to his god-daughter Harriet Jane Leslie in 1833.<br />
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It was the second he had decorated like this. The first he gave to his daughter Emily for her eighth birthday and coloured in five woodcuts attributed to J Thompson after Stothard, but in that one he only added one drawing on the half title page.<br />
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In Harriet's he again coloured the woodcuts but also added eight watercolour sketches on various pages, including a bird singing in its nest and a bee settling on a rose.<br />
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He also wrote a dedication on the title page which read: "Harriet Jane Leslie, from her affectionate godfather John Constable, Sept 13th 1833."<br />
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And below penned the first verse of one of the hymns inside.<br />
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Harriet was the daughter of one of Constable's closest friends, and eventual biographer, Charles Leslie, and he gave her the book when the family were moving to America.<br />
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Emily Constable's book was gifted to the V & A Museum in 1888 by her sister Isabel Constable, along with many of Constable's paintings and sketches, but Harriet Leslie's book remained in her family and has never been publicly exhibited.<br />
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The book will be sold at McTear's British and International Pictures Auction in Glasgow on October 2 and has an estimate of £40,000.