The painting, by the British landscape artist John Constable, is set to go under the hammer in a London auction house in early July, according to El Pais
, with the price set at 26 million Euros. The Baroness told journalists that the reason she was selling the painting, one of only a few Constable's in private hands was simple:
"The crisis affects everyone. Collectors included. I need cash"
The Daily Mail
reports that 'The Lock' finished in 1842 is part of a series of paintings which include perhaps the artist's most famous painting 'The Hay Wain'. The painting was bought by the Baroness' late husband in 1990 for nearly eleven million pounds. The Baroness hopes that the painting will surpass its reserve price to bring in as much money as possible.
newspaper quotes the president of the auction house Christie's Europe as saying:
"'The Lock' is one of John Constable's greatest paintings and an outstanding masterpiece of British art. This superb landscape, coming from the same series as The Hay Wain, represents British landscape painting at its very best and is sure to attract bidding from museums and collectors from all over the world."
says that 'The Lock' was first exhibited by Constable at the Royal Academy in 1824 and is considered one of his finest paintings. It forms part of the 'Stour Series', six paintings all of country scenes in Suffolk, an English county where Constable was born. It was bought directly from the Academy exhibition by a James Morrison (1789 - 1857) and remained in the Morrison family until the Baroness and her husband bought it.
The Baroness is unlikely to miss the painting much as she has a huge collection of art works, many exhibited in the museum named after her family in Madrid, close to the famous Prado Museum. She also has several properties in Spain and abroad.