John Constable, Painter and the Pink Transferware

I began this post intending to discuss 
just about this set of china 
I have found instead 
that I am more inclined to talk about this 
china pattern’s inspiration: 
that being the famous 
British landscape painter 
from the Romantic period, 
John Constable.

The Constable Series Bicentennial ~ 1776-1976
series of china by J. Broadhurst Potters
was based on a painting by John Constable
“The Hay Wain”
located at the 
National Gallery in London, England.

This is the painting seen below.
If you click on the painting,
making it bigger brings out the details more.
He tended to paint stormy/cloudy skies and
a lot of his paintings were on the darker side
but they had
amazingly striking photographic qualities.

“The Hay Wain,” 1821, downloaded courtesy of The National Gallery, London.

John Constable (1776-1837) was born at East Bergholt, Suffolk County, England who seemingly grew up drawing and painting everything around him.  He was intended to take over his father’s business and did go to work for him for a year (transporting corn and coal up and down the River Stour), but his father knew this wasn’t his heart and he lovingly allowed John to bow out of the trade and to attend the Royal Academy in London to study painting.  

Constable’s vivid paintings were influenced greatly by how he saw landscapes and life as well as by a painting by Claude Lorrain titled “Hagar and the Angel.” Constable was fortunate enough to see this painting upon a chance meeting with Sir George Beaumont, an amateur painter himself. Beaumont apparently carried this painting wherever he went {he was considered to be rather eccentric, perhaps because of this} and would share this painting with anyone and everyone.

John Constable wasn’t much appreciated at the time by the art world of London.  Realistic landscapes were not en vogue as mythological landscapes and portraitures were the rage then, but Constable kept on with his paintings.  His oversize large canvases (6 footers) were painted displaying life very realistically. Their large size helped them to be noticed.  

An exhibition of several of his works in 1824 at the Paris Salon, including The Hay Wain (the one above), caught the attention of the French judges and he won a gold medal. His body of work was eventually recognized by the Royal Academy and at the age of 54 he was elected into the academy, he being the first to use classical brown tones and for painting in this realistic manner. Today John Constable is noted as one of Great Britain’s premier landscape painters.

“It is the soul that sees; the outward eyes 

Present the object, but the Mind descries. 

We see nothing till we truly understand it.”

 John Constable

For further information on John Constable, please visit these websites/essays:

1.  John Constable ~ an Essay, Elizabeth E. Barker, The Metropolitan Museum of Art 

2. The Biography of John Constable, The Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

3. John Constable, essay, Artble

I hope you have enjoyed this little biographical information about John Constable, as I have enjoyed learning about him and his life and sharing this information with you!  

I left out pertinent information, such as his marrying and having seven children, as it wasn’t relative to talking about the pink transferware china and how this china pattern came to be.  He created many, many paintings, sketches and drawings that he used to create his masterpieces and all of that can be found in the sources listed above.  The Victoria & Albert have the most extensive collection of Constable’s paintings and other art work  (over 350) donated by his youngest daughter before her death. 

I realize that my own drawings and photographs are greatly influenced by the romantic painters, although it has been up to now unconciously.  I am sure that I must have seen some of Constable’s paintings when I went to the V&A back during my trip to England in 2005.  Part of my quick Seven Hours in London… 🙂

Hopefully you will forgive me for not going into greater detail about his family life.  It is important as I always feel that family plays such an important role in who we are and how we create our artwork.  

And, I hope you have enjoyed my short writings
Blessings to you,
Barb 🙂

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