Constable's Gardens – 200th Anniversary Exhibition
23 May – 6 September 2015
Free to all
Celebrating the renowned landscape painter and the bicentenary of two of his most personal works
This show features a series of important works from the Ipswich Collection – the most significant collection of John Constable works outside of London and the only permanent display in Suffolk. It marks the 200th anniversary of two of his favourite personal works known as Golding Constable's Kitchen Garden and Golding Constable's Flower Garden, and presents over 30 paintings, sketches and drawings that show the artist's inextricable connection to the British landscape.
These two garden paintings reveal Constable's close relationships with his loved ones. The kitchen garden shows both his father's fields of unripe corn, the windmill where he had worked when he was young, and the rectory where Maria Bicknell (the woman he loved who would eventually become his wife) stayed on visits to her grandfather. The flower garden is read as a memorial to his mother, who died while tending to her plants, and was painted several months after her death.
To complement this display, the incredible six-footer Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows has been lent as part of the five year Aspire programme, with support from the Art Fund, offering visitors the chance to see this inspiring painting in different institutions throughout the country. It will remain at Christchurch Mansion until January 2016.
The artist died of an apparent heart attack in 1837, and his plaster death mask can be seen here, along with his palette and watercolours. The mask was presented to Christchurch Mansion in 1954 by Sir Kenneth Clark, through the Art Fund.