Explore the work of one of Suffolk’s most famous artists in a new exhibition at Christchurch Mansion’s Wolsey Art Gallery. 2021 is a significant year for John Constable, as this year marks the 200th anniversary of The Hay Wain, one of his most famous works. It is also 200 years since the death of Suffolk artist George Frost, who was Constable’s early mentor.
To mark this significant bicentenary, the Creating Constable exhibition will explore Constable’s artistic roots by revealing stories about Suffolk artists, family, friends, and early supporters who provided Constable with the foundations on which to build a career.
As well as works by John Constable, visitors will also be able to view pieces by other notable Suffolk artists, including Thomas Gainsborough, George Frost, John Dunthorne, Elizabeth Cobbold and Thomas Churchyard.
Ipswich holds the largest collection of works by Frost in any public collection with over 300 drawings and paintings. This will be the first time in many years that these collections have been on display.
Key loans from the V&A collections will be included which show Ipswich in the 1800s, as well as artworks from the East Anglian Traditional Art Centre depicting the influence of Constable.
Four new John Constable works recently acquired by the Ipswich Museums service will also be displayed for the first time. The recently discovered artworks were found in a scrapbook compiled by Constable’s relations, the Masons in Colchester, containing watercolours, drawings, poems and extensive texts, dating from the 1790s to 1862.
The new artworks include a landscape painted when Constable was aged just seventeen and is among his very earliest surviving works. There are also two portraits, one of which is a work in pencil of his brother, Abram, which is believed to relate to his 1806 oil painting already housed in the Ipswich collection.
The research behind the exhibition has been supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the exhibition is sponsored in part by Kerseys Solicitors.