“I never saw in ugly thing in my life.” ~John Constable

John Constable was an English Romantic painter. He is best known for his landscape paintings of the English countryside, particularly his hometown of Suffolk.

Flatford Mill From A Lock On The Stour

John was born on June 11, 1776 in East Bergholt (pronunciation), a village in Suffolk. His father was a wealthy miller and owner of Flatford Mill. John showed an early interest in art, and though his father initially wanted him to take up the family business, he eventually consented and allowed John to pursue an art career.

Flatford Mill

Constable studied at the Royal Academy Schools in London and even began to exhibit some of his art there. After leaving the Academy, he toured the Lake District, studying the works of other artists such as Claude Lorrain and J. M. W. Turner. To make money he attempted to take up portrait commissions, but found it boring and switched instead to painting houses.

Hay Wain

In 1816, he returned to England and married his childhood friend, Maria Bicknell. Their marriage was not approved by Maria’s parents, but John and Maria were happy, and they ultimately had seven children together.

Portrait of Maria Bicknell

Constable loved his hometown and the English countryside, so he took up painting landscapes in a naturalistic style, trying to be as detailed as possible. He is particularly known for his use of light and color, as well as his depictions of the sky that are always prominent in the background. His most famous paintings include “The Hay Wain” (1821) and “The Cornfield” (1826).


He later returned to the Royal Academy and began to give lectures on the history of landscape painting, and he remained there until his death in 1837, at the age of 60. His work was not widely recognized during his lifetime, but he is now considered one of the greatest British painters of the 19th century.

View of Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop’s Grounds

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