PREVIEW: Late Constable, Royal Academy of Arts

The Royal Academy’s upcoming exhibition will focus on the last twelve years of John Constable’s career.

John Constable RA,Rainstorm over the Sea (detail), 1824-1828.

On display from the 30th October, Late Constable will concentrate on the period from 1825 until his unexpected death in 1837 and will bring together over 50 works including paintings and oil sketches as well as watercolours, drawings and prints, taking an in-depth look at the development of the artist’s late style.

John Constable was born and raised in Dedham Vale, the valley of the River Stour in Suffolk. The son of a wealthy mill owner, he became a student at the Royal Academy Schools in 1800, aged 24 and was elected a Royal Academician in 1829, at the age of 53.

This new exhibition will be divided into three sections. The first, will start with the last of Constable’s celebrated six-foot Suffolk ‘canal’ scenes, The Leaping Horse, 1825, and cover work created up until 1829. This section will also feature  all of Constable’s major exhibition pictures from the period, including The Cornfield, 1825 (The National Gallery, London) and Dedham Vale, 1828 (National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh), as well as the artist’s Diploma Work, A Boat Passing a Lock, 1826, presented to the Royal Academy in 1829 upon his election as Royal Academician. Alongside these paintings will be a selection of oil sketches.

Meanwhile, the second section will then concentrate on his work in the 1830’s that leads up to his last two exhibition pictures: Cenotaph to the Memory of Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1833-36 (The National Gallery, London) and Arundel Mill and Castle, 1837 (The Toledo Museum of Art). 

The final section, will focus on works on paper including watercolours, drawings and prints. Highlights will include his two exhibition watercolours, Old Sarum, 1834 and, most famously, Stonehenge, 1835 (both Victoria and Albert Museum, London).

Late Constable will be on display at the Royal Academy of Arts from the 30th October until the 13th February 2022.

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