John Constable
English Romantic painter



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John Constable
English Romantic painter
Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

Birth Date

June 11, 1776

Death Date

March 31, 1837

Arty Fact

ldewey's picture


John Constable was a Romantic painter in more than just the art history sense of the word.

This dude was pretty much as sensitive as they come. His dad was a wealthy corn merchant (lol) but John wasn’t very into corn, or corn-sourced wealth, so instead of going into the family business he was given a small allowance to attend art school. By 1803, he was exhibiting his works at the Royal Academy.

However, Constable wasn’t really fated to make the big bucks in England. His works were too unfashionably pastoral for the time-- people wanted drama, but Constable was a humble dude who couldn’t bear to over exaggerate his beloved countryside. As a result of his stubborn unwillingness to sell out, he only sold 20 of his paintings in England in his entire lifetime. 

He found slightly more success in France, but refused to travel outside of the country to promote his artwork, so there still wasn’t quite enough to make ends meet for the seven children that he fathered with his childhood sweetheart. Sorry John, but a living as a corn merchant would have been a safer bet. (Words I never thought I’d say.)

That overburdened childhood sweetheart, Maria Elizabeth Bicknell, died of tuberculosis twelve years after their marriage. Constable was devastated and wore black for the rest of his life (chic), becoming increasingly melancholy and anxious as he raised his seven children alone. 

To make matters worse, Constable got super popular...after he died. His works are now among the most valuable in Britain, with one of his “six-footers” now expected to sell for 12 million pounds. 

Featured Content

Here is what Wikipedia says about John Constable

John Constable, RA (/ˈkʌnstəbəl, ˈkɒn-/; 11 June 1776 – 31 March 1837) was an English landscape painter in the Romantic tradition. Born in Suffolk, he is known principally for revolutionising the genre of landscape painting with his pictures of Dedham Vale, the area surrounding his home – now known as "Constable Country" – which he invested with an intensity of affection. "I should paint my own places best", he wrote to his friend John Fisher in 1821, "painting is but another word for feeling".

Constable's most famous paintings include Wivenhoe Park (1816), Dedham Vale (1821) and The Hay Wain (1821). Although his paintings are now among the most popular and valuable in British art, he was never financially successful. He became a member of the establishment after he was elected to the Royal Academy at the age of 52. His work was embraced in France, where he sold more than in his native England and inspired the Barbizon school.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about John Constable.

Comments (7)



Lorna Wright

There is a sweetness and melancholy to much of Constable's work. I know he is always compared to Turner since they were such enemies, but I feel they were working on the same project of capturing the wonder of nature. I know Turner is more in vogue but I secretly love Constable more. Heresy, right?


I'm just pulling your leg your a good sport Constable is the tops


Sheesh Lona why don't you write an essay about it !


i would have to say i still find them "unfashionably pastoral" aka boooring

spurklin targedash



Yes, boring. Three stars.