Flatford celebrates 200 years of The Hay Wain with anniversary exhibition
- Credit: Sarah Lucy brown
A new exhibition to celebrate the 200th anniversary of John Constable’s ‘The Hay Wain’ is on show at Flatford, the location that inspired the masterpiece.
Painted in 1821, ‘The Hay Wain’ by Suffolk-born landscape artist John Constable, is one of our nation's most cherished paintings.
The painting depicts the mill pond at Flatford, part of an idyllic countryside scene on the River Stour where the artist spent his childhood and early life.
The painting now hangs in the National Gallery in London. Alice Rylance-Watson, Assistant Curator for Pictures and Sculpture for the National Trust said: “Exhibited 200 years ago to the year, John Constable's Hay Wain is arguably Britain’s most iconic and quintessentially English landscape paintings.
"It's set at noon on a warm summer's day in Flatford, Suffolk, and shows a wagon or 'wain' in a tranquil millpond with agricultural workers in the distance. This place was intimately known to Constable; he credited the Stour Valley's riverine landscape with making him a painter.
“The Hay Wain was considered radical in its day, for its scale, colour palette, brushwork, and for its close attention to natural detail. Constable paved the way for a more expressive form of landscape painting, one which evoked in the viewer feelings of actually being in nature.”
Hoping to inspire visitors, Flatford has worked in partnership with Essex Cultural Diversity Project, commissioning an artist response and exhibition that celebrates ‘The Hay Wain’. The successful artists, Liz Harrington and Laurence Harding are photographic artists, specialising in historic and experimental photography projects.
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The artists have spent the summer at Flatford developing their exhibition. Using experimental analogue and historic photographic processes, dating from the 19th century, the artists have created a series of works that investigate themes of light and shadow, as well as reflect on memory, time and spirit of place.
The exhibition, ‘Landscapes at Noon’ will take place in The Granary at Flatford throughout November. Visitors to Flatford’s Granary Barn will be able to step inside the painting as they walk through floating cyanotype panels depicting the iconic scene.
Visit the website for opening times.