Boat-Building Near Flatford Mill
By John Constable

Boat-Building Near Flatford Mill
By John Constable R.A. (1776-1837)
In the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, London

It has remained for posterity in England to recognise the full measure of Constable's genius, although he was entirely appreciated in France during his lifetime, and in a measure in his own land, as his tardy election to the Royal Academy bears witness. He was the son of a wealthy miller of East Bergholt, Suffolk, where he was born. His father's original intention was to place him in holy orders, but he entered the paternal business at the age of eighteen. His genius, however, would find its outlet, and his parents were induced to send him to London to study art. He returned home two years later to take the place of an old clerk, but a little more than a year after he entered the Academy Schools where he was to prove a splendid teacher in future years.

For some time he supported himself by following the conventional pathways in art - painting portraits and altar-pieces, and copying pictures by Reynolds and others; but his first picture in the Academy was a landscape, exhibited in 1802, which was praised by Sir Benjamin West, the President, who gave him much encouragement and advice. This painting was the first notable outcome of his conviction that there was room for a "natural" painter: one who should depict the green grass, the wet water - in short, the country as the artist saw it instead of as he thought he saw it.

"Boat-building" was painted in 1815, and marked a further step in his progress towards his great pictures which brought him his fame. The love of the country which inspired him was expressed in his preface to "English Landscape Scenery," in which he said his desire was "to increase the interest for and promote the study of the rural scenery of England, with all its endearing associations."

From the book "Famous Paintings" printed in 1913.

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Online "Name the Painting"

John Constable Paintings
at Olga's Gallery

John Constable Biography
at Olga's Gallery

List of images of paintings by John Constable
at the ArtChive

John Constable
at Wikipedia

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