He's the new John Constable

By David Green and Jonathan BarnesBEING called John Constable, he will never have to strive to make a name for himself.But six-year-old John, the great-great-great-great grandson of the legendary East Anglian painter John Constable, is showing an artistic talent all of his own.

By David Green and Jonathan Barnes

BEING called John Constable, he will never have to strive to make a name for himself.

But six-year-old John, the great-great-great-great grandson of the legendary East Anglian painter John Constable, is showing an artistic talent all of his own.

The youngster was among the winners at the Young Art East Anglia competition, which saw more than 1,000 entries from five to 11-year-olds across Suffolk.


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John, a pupil at Easton Primary School, near Framlingham, came joint second in the category for the youngest children with a picture of a ship, drawn from his imagination.

His 40-year-old father, also called John, said: “He knows all about the family history. He's been to see the Constable galleries in London and was interested in all the paintings, especially the big ones.

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“He saw something in one of the paintings I had never spotted before, some red markings on sheep in The Cornfield. He's very perceptive.”

Mr Constable and his son moved from Japan, where he worked, to Great Glemham in 1999 following the death of his wife.

They moved in with Mr Constable's parents - John, who was also a professional painter, and Freda, an art historian and a former art correspondent for the East Anglian Daily Times.

“He stayed at home a lot with my mother and father a lot while I was at work and spent a lot of time in my father's studio,” said Mr Constable, a research fellow at Cambridge University.

“The house is full of my father's paintings and my parents had a big influence on him. My mother has just finished an article on Constable.”

He added: “I finished a big project a couple of years ago and was left with a 1,000-page proof, which I gave him to draw on.

“It's good to see him express himself with freedom and abandon. He does like to draw a lot and he writes a lot, too.

“He's just a normal boy who rides his bicycle and kicks a football, although he doesn't really watch much television. Who knows if he will continue with his art?”

Mr Constable's father died in 2002, aged 73. He was the great-great-grandson of John Constable and also pursued a career in art.

Constable was born in East Bergholt in 1776 and became famous for his paintings of the Stour Valley, including his masterpiece The Hay Wain. He died in 1837 and is considered one of England's greatest artists - and was voted the Greatest East Anglian by EADT readers.

The first prize in the competition's youngest category went to another pupil at Easton Primary School, Gabrielle Patterson.

Jack Lane, of Trimley St Mary Primary, won first prize in the middle category, for children in school years three and four, while the category for the older children was won by Miriam Keegan, of Amberfield School.

Their paintings were among 200 selected for display at the Peter Pears Gallery in Aldeburgh over the weekend.

The judge was Maggi Hambling, creator of the controversial scallops sculpture on Aldeburgh beach, who praised the county's “new generation of artistic talent”.

She told children and parents at the prize-giving ceremony that Picasso, one of the greatest artists of the 20th Century, had been told his paintings were like those of a child.

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