By James Bryce

A CASH-STRAPPED Spanish baroness is to sell a €30 million painting by British artist John Constable after claiming ‘I need the money’.

Carmen Thyssen said she had decided to auction The Lock after struggling with the huge expense of maintaining her €100 million collection, part of which is on display in Malaga.

The Baroness bought the masterpiece for €13.3 million in 1990, at the time a world record price for any British work of art.

The painting – which depicts a man operating a wooden canal lock – will be auctioned at Christie’s in London on July 3 after previous attempts to sell it failed.

“I need the money, I really need it, I have no liquidity,” Thyssen said.

“I am very austere with my life, but to maintain the collection requires lots of costs.

“I have had €790 million of art work lent for free to the Spanish state over the last 13 years. I did not want to sell this.

“It has given me a lot of pain to lose this painting, that myself and my husband bought at an auction in 1990, but if God chooses I will not have to sell any more,” she added.

The Lock was finished in 1824 and is the last of The Stour Series, which includes Constable’s famous work The Hay Wain.


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