DUNTHORNE, John (1798-1832)

1798 - 1832

John Dunthorne the younger

John Dunthorne, was born at East Bergholt, Suffolk on 19 April and baptised 3 June 1798, third child of John Dunthorne, the elder [q.v.] and his wife Hannah née Bird. Artist and picture restorer, whose life, like his father’s, was also intimately tied to John Constable [q.v.]. Dunthorne showed an early aptitude for art and in his teens was already assisting Constable during the artist's visits to East Bergholt, ultimately joining him in London in 1824 as his assistant. It is difficult to determine the exact nature and extent of Dunthorne's subsequent work on Constable's canvases, but his presence in his studio has complicated matters for Constable scholars. Responsible for the preliminary stages of Constable's studio paintings and for occasional replicas, Dunthorne is also known to have painted his own versions of Constable compositions and it is possible that paintings formerly attributed to Constable should be re-attributed to Dunthorne. That he absorbed much of Constable's style and outlook is evident from a review of one of his paintings exhibited at the Royal Academy, a review that mirrors very closely those of Constable himself: ‘A Landscape after a Shower’ ‘To have painted this picture, the artist must have been a very close observer of natural effects’. Dunthorne exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1827 and 1832 and at the British Institution; he was a successful picture-cleaner and restorer and was highly praised for his restoration of a Reynolds portrait, a commission gained through the recommendation of Sir Thomas Lawrence. Having suffered severe bouts of dropsy in July 1832, Dunthorne returned to East Bergholt where he died from heart disease on 2 November 1832 and buried seven days later.

Works by This Artist