By JOHN CONSTABLE R.A. (1776-1837)

Sometimes it is left for posterity to appraise a man aright, and the world wonders why the recognition of genius was so long delayed. Although Constable was honoured in France, his fame in England was never so great in his lifetime as it is to-day. He became a Royal Academician, it is true, but he was misjudged up to the time of his death. Three years after he was elected an Academician, he exhibited his "Waterloo Bridge," which was described by his detractors as having been painted with his palette knife only.

From his early years Constable had to contend with opposition which bade fair to nullify any encouragement which he received. His father was unable to appreciate his early signs of genius, and it was with difficulty that he was persuaded to allow his son to study. The parent, however, unknowingly conferred one great benefit upon him when he set him to work in one of his mills, for here he gained the first insight into the atmospheric changes which are so wonderfully expressed in his paintings. Progress in his art was slow, but he plodded on with true English persistency, studying and copying a great deal and creating a little.

In 1802 Constable exhibited his first picture, but it was not till nine years later, when he was thirty-five years of age, that he gave the world the first evidence of his own distinctive power in his picture of Dedham Vale. After another five years of struggle with poverty he inherited 4,000 pounds from his father, married, and settled down in comparative comfort and freedom from anxiety to produce some of his finest work.

He studied the country with loving patience, and reproduced what he saw with brilliant contrasts of light and shadow that reveal to us the eternal sweetness and charm of the English countryside.

From the book "Famous Paintings" printed in 1913.

Large files of this public domain print are available at Stock Photos at Songs of Praise
(Firefox users must click again on the large photo to see the very large image.)

Online "Name the Painting"

John Constable Paintings
at Olga's Gallery

John Constable Biography
at Olga's Gallery

"The Opening of Waterloo Bridge" by John Constable
at the ArtChive

List of images of paintings by John Constable
at the ArtChive

John Constable
at Wikipedia

Famous Paintings in this Series

James Archer
My Great Grandmother

The Meeting


John Brett
From the Dorsetshire Cliffs

Arnesby Brown
The River Bank

Joseph Clark
Mother's Darling

John Constable
The Hay-Wain

Jean Baptiste Camille
The Fisherman's Hut

Jean Baptiste Camille
A Flood

Leonardo Da Vinci
Monna Lisa

Edouard Detaille
The Dream

Henri Fantin-Latour

Thomas Gainsborough
Queen Charlotte

Thomas Gainsborough
The Market Cart

Jean Baptiste Greuze
The Head of a Girl

Jean Baptiste Greuze

James Clark Hook
Home With the Tide

Alfred William Hunt
Windsor Castle

Josef Israels
The Shipwrecked Mariner

B.W. Leader
The Stream in Summer-time

Madame Vigee Le Brun
Portrait of the Artist

Alphonse Legros
A Canal With a Fisherman

Anton Mauve
Watering Horses

J.L.E. Meissonier
The Cavalier

Sir J.E. Millais
Speak! Speak!

Sir J.E. Mallais
My First Sermon

George Morland
The Reckoning

George Morland
The Inside of a Stable

The Immaculate Conception
of the Virgin

Alfred Parsons
When Nature Painted
All Things Gay

Ralph Peacock
The Sisters

Syndics of the
Cloth Merchants' Guild

Guido Reni
"Ecce Homo"

Sir Joshua Reynolds
Portrait of Mrs. Richard Hoare
With Her Infant Son

Briton Riviere
The Temptation
in the Wilderness

Dante Gabriel
Day Dreams

John Singer Sargent
Miss Ellen Terry
as Lady Macbeth

Lady Stanley
(Dorothy Tennant)
His First Offence

Jan Steen
Grace Before Meat

Marcus Stone
On the Road from
Waterloo to Paris

Constant Troyon
Watering Cattle

H.S. Tuke
"All Hands to the Pumps"

King Philip IV. of Spain

S.E. Waller
Sweethearts and Wives

Thomas Webster
The Smile

Famous Paintings Volume 1
Art Gallery

Famous Paintings Volume 2
Art Gallery

Art Appreciation