How much do you know about celebrated Suffolk artist John Constable?
- Credit: PA
Spend your evening reflecting on the work of one of England’s best-loved painters.
Today marks the 183rd anniversary of the death of John Constable, the Suffolk born and bred painter whose brushstrokes are still the talk of the town two centuries on.
Born in East Bergholt on June 11 1776 to Golding and Ann Constable, his father was the owner of Flatford Mill, a Grade I listed watermill built in 1733, later to become famous due to his son’s depictions of it in paint.
Largely self-taught, Constable spent his formative years exploring the local Suffolk and Essex countryside, which has since affectionately been dubbed ‘Constable Country’. This consists of Dedham Vale, Stour Valley and the surrounding picturesque villages of Flatford, Stratford St Mary and Stoke-by-Nayland.
With over 100 works to his name, Constable’s magnum opus arguably would have to be The Hay Wain, an oil painting that features horses and a wood wain in the River Stour, with Willy Lott’s Cottage on the far left. Painted in 1821, it has become an instantly recognisable staple of British culture, and was actually voted the nation’s second favourite work of art in a 2017 poll of 2,000 people.
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Other notable works of his art include View on the Stour near Dedham, Wivenhoe Park and Flatford Mill.
Today, Constable’s works can mostly be viewed in London at the National Gallery and Tate Britain – with the largest collection of his paintings outside of London viewable at Ipswich’s Christchurch Mansion.
While all museums are currently closed nationwide due to the ongoing situation with the Covid-19 outbreak, many of his works can be viewed online.
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Alternatively, if you’re looking to change up your daily exercise during this period of self-isolation and uncertainty, the majority of the landmark buildings featured throughout Constable’s works are still standing to this day and can be viewed in all of their rural, exquisite beauty.
A must-do is to venture along the footsteps of the ‘Painter’s Trail’, a 60km route through Suffolk where you can retrace Constable’s steps and see the places where he painted pieces such as Stour Valley and Dedham Village and The Hay Wain. If you’re feeling extra creative, why not try to paint or sketch your own take on the sights of Constable Country? You might just surprise yourself when you put paintbrush to paper.