John Constable

Essay by InnerFireHigh School, 10th grade October 2007

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John Constable, a famous English painter, is commonly remembered for his unique and constant approach to many landscape paintings. He is actually much more famous in the afterlife than he was during his lifetime. On June 11, 1776, Constable was born in Bergholt Suffolk, with a father (Golding Constable) who was well paid for his occupation in selling corn. John began being taught at the Dedham grammar school. For post-graduation, he went to work with his father as a miller, but he did not consider this to be his true calling, and in 1799 he went to the Royal Academy, London, to study art. He married Maria Bicknell in 1816, even though her family strongly opposed the marriage. Maria died in 1828, and Constable became very depressed. Throughout his entire career, John never became very well-known in his mother country (England) whilst he was alive. Since he was having trouble selling his paintings, he soon began to have financial trouble.

Just when he was running out of money to live on, Constable became financially secure when his father passed away, and his vast fortune went his son. John passed away in 1837.

Constable became well-known by society for his consistency to create beautiful landscape oil paintings throughout his career. His work strongly influenced the French artist Delacroix, who continued Constable’s idea of working outdoors. Later, many French Impressionists built on Constable’s efforts to portray the moods of light and nature. John’s first major painting was shown in 1802, entitled “Dedham Vale”. The title refers to a wealthy wool town from the 15th Century, which sits beside the River Stour, which is where Constable’s father owned a watermill. Interestingly, Dedham Vale now has the nickname Constable Country. Another popular painting, called “Gillingham Bridge” (1823), was created for John’s best...