John Constable Exhibition

Our local and comparatively new art gallery, the Lightbox in Woking is staging an exhibition entitled John Constable:Observing the Weather. No pictures from me, I am afraid so suggest the following link The exhibition opened yesterday and runs until May. We went today and will no doubt go again

Yet another triumph for the Lightbox, a provincial gallery with national recognition. Paintings, prints and watercolour sketches on loan from collections all round the country, tell us of Constable’s fascination with meteorology. Many sketches are from the years 1820-22 when he rented a house on Hampstead Heath to be near his studio in London, and these record cloud formations from different angles. They are really scientific observations which he drew from later when producing his oil paintings, such as Salisbury Cathedral from across the meadows which is the highlight of the show. This is one of nine giant oil sketches that he made which have become famous in their own right

Dismissed by the art world at the time, for not sticking to classical subjects painted in a studio, Constable stuck to painting en plein air, landscapes as he saw them uncontrived and true to nature. He was certainly an influence on the Barbizon School, with painters like Corot and Rousseau, and I always felt too, on the French Impressionists later on

Magnificent prints of Constable’s work by David Lucas are on display, such as The Drinking Boy and The Lock. This was about the time that printmaking moved away from the linear print to a representation that appeared like the painting, even down to brush strokes.

Obviously small by national standards but cleverly put together, and worth a visit, if you are able

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