38 Facts About John Constable


John Constable was an English landscape painter in the Romantic tradition.


John Constable became a member of the establishment after he was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts at the age of 52.


John Constable's work was embraced in France, where he sold more than in his native England and inspired the Barbizon school.


John Constable was born in East Bergholt, a village on the River Stour in Suffolk, to Golding and Ann Constable.


John Constable's father was a wealthy corn merchant, owner of Flatford Mill in East Bergholt and, later, Dedham Mill in Essex.


John Constable was a cousin of the London tea merchant, Abram Newman.


John Constable worked in the corn business after leaving school, but his younger brother Abram eventually took over the running of the mills.


In 1799, John Constable persuaded his father to let him pursue a career in art, and Golding granted him a small allowance.


John Constable read widely among poetry and sermons, and later proved a notably articulate artist.


In 1806 John Constable undertook a two-month tour of the Lake District.


John Constable told his friend and biographer, Charles Leslie, that the solitude of the mountains oppressed his spirits, and Leslie wrote:.


John Constable's nature was peculiarly social and could not feel satisfied with scenery, however grand in itself, that did not abound in human associations.


John Constable adopted a routine of spending winter in London and painting at East Bergholt in summer.


John Constable used the money from these commissions towards his wedding with Maria Bicknell.


John Constable considered the Constables his social inferiors and threatened Maria with disinheritance.


The sea at Weymouth and Brighton stimulated John Constable to develop new techniques of brilliant colour and vivacious brushwork.


Three weeks before their marriage, John Constable revealed that he had started work on his most ambitious project to date In a letter to Maria Bicknell from East Bergholt, he wrote:.


John Constable was determined to paint on a larger scale, his objective not only to attract more attention at the Royal Academy exhibitions but, it seems, to project his ideas about landscape on a scale more in keeping with the achievements of the classical landscape painters he so admired.


John Constable's growing illness meant that Constable took lodgings for his family in Brighton from 1824 until 1828, in the hope the sea air could restore her health.


John Constable continued painting six-foot canvases, although he was initially unsure of the suitability of Brighton as a subject for painting.


John Constable cared for his seven children alone for the rest of his life.


John Constable speculated disastrously with the money, paying for the engraving of several mezzotints of some of his landscapes in preparation for a publication.


John Constable was hesitant and indecisive, nearly fell out with his engraver, and when the folios were published, could not interest enough subscribers.


John Constable collaborated closely with mezzotinter David Lucas on 40 prints after his landscapes, one of which went through 13 proof stages, corrected by John Constable in pencil and paint.


John Constable said, "Lucas showed me to the public without my faults", but the venture was not a financial success.


John Constable was elected to the Royal Academy in February 1829, at the age of 52.


John Constable began to deliver public lectures on the history of landscape painting, which were attended by distinguished audiences.


John Constable spoke against the new Gothic Revival movement, which he considered mere "imitation".


John Constable died on the night of 31 March 1837, apparently from heart failure, and was buried with Maria in the graveyard of St John-at-Hampstead Church in Hampstead in London.


John Constable quietly rebelled against the artistic culture that taught artists to use their imagination to compose their pictures rather than nature itself.


John Constable told Leslie, "When I sit down to make a sketch from nature, the first thing I try to do is to forget that I have ever seen a picture".


John Constable attributed his gift 'to all that lay on the Stour river' biographer Anthony Bailey attributed his artistic development to the influence of his well to do relative, Thomas Allen and the London contacts he introduced John Constable to.


John Constable painted many full-scale preliminary sketches of his landscapes to test the composition in advance of finished pictures.


The oil sketches of The Leaping Horse and The Hay Wain, for example, convey a vigour and expressiveness missing from John Constable's finished paintings of the same subjects.


John Constable's watercolours were remarkably free for their time: the almost mystical Stonehenge, 1835, with its double rainbow, is often considered to be one of the greatest watercolours ever painted.


John Constable became interested in painting rainbow effects, for example in Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, 1831, and in Cottage at East Bergholt, 1833.


John Constable once wrote in a letter to Leslie, "My limited and abstracted art is to be found under every hedge, and in every lane, and therefore nobody thinks it worth picking up".


John Constable's art inspired not only contemporaries like Gericault and Delacroix, but the Barbizon School, and the French impressionists of the late nineteenth century.