The Commission & Constable Country

Wicken Fen at Dusk
24 x 48 Oil/Linen

I delivered the commission yesterday to it’s home in Norwich. This is the best photo I have been able to get. Really happy that Catherine loves the painting and it looks really good on her wall!

I have been wending my way down from Scotland, via my Dad’s, Norwich and am now in south west London. Whilst I am down here I am going to meet the owners of the Blackheath Gallery where I am joining Deborah Paris for a show in September. Plus catching up with some old friends and my kids down here. Thanks to Barbara, a good friend from my years living in Teddington, for letting me stay.
However, probably the main reason for me being down here is that I am picking Barry up from the airport tomorrow!! We have been apart for five months. I can hardly wait to see him. It has been too long!

The weather was gorgeous yesterday and I had time on my hands, so I thought I would take the opportunity to visit the Flatford mill area. The clouds were typical Constable clouds, so it was a good day to explore.

Boat-building near Flatford Mill
John Constable (1776-1837)
‘This portrays the construction of a barge at a dry-dock owned by Constable’s father. It is based on a tiny pencil drawing in a sketchbook at the V&A. Constable painted the landscape entirely in the open air. His biographer praised its ‘atmospheric truth’, such that ‘the tremulous vibration of the heated air near the ground seems visible’.’
(Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

The dry dock from a different angle.

The Hay Wain
1821, John Constable
‘Constable’s painting is based on a site in Suffolk, near Flatford on the River Stour. The hay wain, a type of horse-drawn cart, stands in the water in the foreground. Across the meadow in the distance on the right, is a group of haymakers at work. The cottage shown on the left was rented by a farmer called Willy Lott and stands behind Flatford Mill. Today, the cottage and river path are still much as they were in Constable’s time.

Although the painting evokes a Suffolk scene, it was created in the artist’s studio in London. Constable first made a number of open-air sketches of parts of the scene. He then made a full-size preparatory sketch in oil to establish the composition.

The painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1821, the year it was painted, but failed to find a buyer. Yet when exhibited in France, with other paintings by Constable, the artist was awarded a Gold Medal by Charles X.’
(National Gallery, London)

I think it’s quite amazing how similar the scene is after all these years.