Selling England by the pound

Today John Constable’s The Lock, painted in 1824, sold at Christie’s for £22.4 million. In the current art market of silly prices some lucky person got the bargain link of their lives. Let us hope the picture will be placed in a museum, where people might enjoy it, instead of disappearing into a Swiss warehouse as the investment bauble of some gold-tap billionaire vulgarian. It is the same price as that commanded by ordinary works by the top price sellers in British painting, Turner and Bacon, both of whom have sold work for significantly higher amounts than this. It is the same price a collector might pay for an off-the-peg Monet one wouldn’t inflict even on an enemy. The Lock, being one of the six major works deliberately painted by the artist between 1819 and 1825 for the Royal Academy exhibition in order to cement