John Constable’s rediscovered oil 'Dedham Vale with the River Stour in Flood' is estimated at £2m-3m at Sotheby’s London Old Masters sale in December.

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Dedham Vale with the River Stour in Flood from the grounds of Old Hall, East Bergholt was completed between 1814-17 and is one of the artist’s only early Suffolk paintings to remain in private hands. The oil, measuring 20in x 3ft (51 x 91.5cm), is one of a series in similar size and style that Constable completed during this period that depict the countryside of his boyhood years.

It is estimated at £2m-3m at Sotheby’s Old Masters Evening sale on December 6.

The painting was long believed to be the work of Constable’s contemporary Ramsay Richard Reinagle (1775-1862). However, Julian Gascoigne, senior specialist at Sotheby’s, said “recent scientific analysis and up-to-date connoisseurship has unanimously returned the work to its rightful place among the canon of the great master’s work”.

Now thought to have been commissioned by Thomas Fitzhugh for his bride-to-be, Philadelphia Godfrey, the work is a view from the garden of her parents’ home. The Godfreys were family friends of Constable’s family and the image may have served as a memento of childhood for Philadelphia in her married home in London.