Gallery: Constable exhibition opens at Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich this weekend

Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich is about to host a large Constable exhibition featuring many of his

Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich is about to host a large Constable exhibition featuring many of his paintings, drawings and various other items such as his paint box and brushes. Curator Emma Roodhouse putting the finishing touches to the show. - Credit: Archant

THE largest Constable collection outside London goes on permanent display at Christchurch Mansion from tomorrow.

The Constable exhibition marks the reopening of the Mansion’s Wolsey gallery after a £500,000 refurbishment, fitting new air-conditioning, lighting and flooring improvements.

The exhibition pulls together all the Constables in the Colchester and Ipswich collections along with loans from the Victoria and Albert Museum and an anonymous private collector.

The Constable family has also donated Constable’s paintbox containing his brushes, a bronze horse created by Gainsborough and owned by Constable and Constable’s deathmask.

Art curator Emma Roodhouse has pulled the permanent exhibition together and said that it is the first time that the entire Ipswich and Colchester Constable collection has been on display but elements of the exhibition will be added and refreshed over the year.

“The works on paper will have to be rotated just to keep them in good condition and to allow us to show everything we have.”

She said the inclusion of artifacts helped to make Constable a real man rather than a lofty artistic icon.

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This is also helped by the rediscovery of a rare portrait of Constable in the Borough Council’s archives.

The loans from the V&A, including a preparatory sketch of the Kitchen Gardens which complements two paintings in the Borough’s collection, go back to London at the end of June.

The exhibition also includes three Gainsborough landscapes to demonstrate how Constable learned from his Sudbury-based predecessor.

Emma said: “It’s a major exhibition which demonstrates what an important role Suffolk plays in our artistic heritage and something to be celebrated in this day and age is that admission to this wonderful exhibition is free.”