No artist has rivalled John Constable (1776-1837) in his powers to express the beauties of the British countryside, especially the scenery of his native East Anglia. He sought above all to make 'pure and unaffected representations of the scenes', and to this end he made detailed studies of the minutest phenomena of nature. He wrote: 'My limited and abstracted art is to be found under every hedge, and in every lane...' But this felling for such qualities had to be reconciled with the traditional - and what were for him the essential - demands of painting pictures for public exhibition. In this book many of his most famous pictures are reproduced, showing how Constable adjusted the fresh, spontaneous handling of paint in his sketches to more formal, academic requirements.
This enormously successful survey of the life and work of Constable is provided by John Sunderland, Witt and Conway Librarian at the Courtauld Institute, London. Each full-page colour plate is accompanied by an explanatory text, and over fifty black-and-white illustrations offer comparisons with the paintings.