John Constable

Rooms 87 – 88: The Edwin and Susan Davies Galleries

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The sky is the source of light in nature and it governs everything

John Constable (1776 – 1837) transformed the way we see the English landscape. Our rich collection of works by Constable ranges from drawings made directly from nature, to oil paintings that demonstrate the inventiveness and vitality for which he is renowned. Highlights include the full-scale preparatory sketch for 'The Hay Wain'.

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Constable was among the earliest artists in the V&A's collection thanks to an 1856 donation of six paintings by the collector John Sheepshanks. However, the heart of this incredible collection was provided by Isabel Constable, the artist's daughter. Her donation of 297 drawings and watercolours, 92 oil sketches, three easel paintings and three sketchbooks provides an unparalleled insight into the work and process of this master.

Exploring John Constable

Photo of A Mill on the Banks of the River Stour, John Constable, 1802, England. Museum no. 841-1888. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
A Mill on the Banks of the River Stour, John Constable, 1802, England. Museum no. 841-1888. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Boat Building near Flatford Mill, John Constable, about 1815, England. Museum no. FA.37[O]. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Boat Building near Flatford Mill, John Constable, about 1815, England. Museum no. FA.37[O]. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Shoreham Bay, Evening Sunset, John Constable, 1828, England. Museum no. 155-1888. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Shoreham Bay, Evening Sunset, John Constable, 1828, England. Museum no. 155-1888. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Brighton Beach, John Constable, 1824, England. Museum no. 783-1888. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Brighton Beach, John Constable, 1824, England. Museum no. 783-1888. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of A Hayfield near East Bergholt at Sunset, John Constable, 1812, England. Museum no. 121-1888. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
A Hayfield near East Bergholt at Sunset, John Constable, 1812, England. Museum no. 121-1888. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of The State Opening of Waterloo Bridge from Whitehall Stairs, John Constable, about 1819, England. Museum no. 322-1888. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The State Opening of Waterloo Bridge from Whitehall Stairs, John Constable, about 1819, England. Museum no. 322-1888. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Old Sarum, John Constable, 1834, England. Museum no. 1628-1888. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Old Sarum, John Constable, 1834, England. Museum no. 1628-1888. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of View of The Stour with Dedham Church in the Distance, John Constable, about 1832, England. Museum no. 249-1888. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
View of The Stour with Dedham Church in the Distance, John Constable, about 1832, England. Museum no. 249-1888. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Study of the Trunk of an Elm Tree, John Constable, about 1821, England. Museum no. 786-1888. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Study of the Trunk of an Elm Tree, John Constable, about 1821, England. Museum no. 786-1888. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of A Suffolk Child: sketch for The Valley Farm, John Constable, about 1835, England. Museum no. 600-1888. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
A Suffolk Child: sketch for The Valley Farm, John Constable, about 1835, England. Museum no. 600-1888. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop's Ground, John Constable, 1823, England. Museum no. FA.33[0]. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop's Ground, John Constable, 1823, England. Museum no. FA.33[0]. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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