image courtesy of the Metroplitan Museum of Art, New York
John Constable ((1776-1837)
Landscape painting in oils steadily became more popular during the 19th century. John Constable and his contemporary J.M.W. Turner take credit for establishing landscape as a significant subject. Until then, history paintings had been considered more important, but increasingly naturalistic paintings of picturesque views of the British landscape appealed to a wider section of the art-buying public.
Dr Fisher, Bishop of Salisbury, commissioned this painting of the Cathedral in 1820, and both he and his wife appear in the left-hand corner of the finished work. Constable had made a series of sketches before starting work on the canvas, and after it had been exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1823, he was asked to make a smaller version and a full-scale replica. The painting embodies the full range of qualities of a quintessentially British landscape painting - the clouds, trees, a water meadow, cattle drinking at the edge of the pasture and the glorious architecture of a medieval cathedral - but all on a human scale.
the above text appears on the back of the card HC-1231: card size 7" x 5" (178mm x 127mm)