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Golding Constable's house, East Bergholt

A panoramic view of Constable’s family home, East Bergholt House, built by John's father, Golding Constable, in the late 1700’s and where the family lived until 1819.  After selling it to a family friend it fell into disrepair and was demolished c1840


Details

Inscribed on the back, a label in ink which read ‘The house in which John Constable RA was born. Painted by John Constable RA’

In later years Constable would recall with delight scenes where his ‘ideas of landscape were formed’ and ‘the retrospect of those happy days and years’.

1811 was an eventful year for Constable, with his mother asking him to paint a watercolour of Bergholt Church for Dr Rhudde (‘East Bergholt Church), spending March at Epsom for his health, visits and correspondence with Joseph Farington* and Maria leaving for a stay at Bewdley, Worcester with her widowed half-sister.

Constable also visited an old friend the Bishop of Salisbury and on that visit grew close to the bishop’s nephew, John Fisher whose correspondence is a significant source on Constable's art as he explains his aims and aspirations, and shows him to be driven and ambitious.

By the mid part of the year Constable's friends are worried by effects on him of his separation from Maria, and by November/December Maria writes asking him to cease thinking of her and to forget that he ever knew her. He takes a coach to Worcestershire and is well received and on his return their correspondence continues.  However at the close of the year his father writes that he regrets his too great anxiety to excel and thinks that he makes too serious a matter of the business of painting!

 *Joseph Farington, artist who documented his diary into sixteen volumes between 1793 and his death in 1821 which gave in insight into daily life in the London art community and became an invaluable source for this period primarily due to the meticulous recording of events, dinners, weather, and meetings at the Royal Academy.

Donated to the V&A By Isabel Constable*, daughter of the artist 1888

*Isabel Constable was the last surviving daughter of the painter and gave the contents of her father’s studio to the Victoria & Albert Museum, making them the principal collector of Constable's work which included 395 oil paintings, sketches, drawings, watercolours and sketchbooks.

 

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