Bibliography - Constable, John
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born - 11 June 1776, East Bergholt, Suffolk
died - 31 March 1837, Hampstead, London

The Sussex paintings of John Constable


Memoirs of the life of John Constable, Esq., R.A: Composed chiefly of his letters, compiled by Charles Robert Leslie, published 1845 (363 pp., London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longman)   View Online

Life and letters of John Constable R.A.: with three portraits of Constable and forty-two illustrations from Contable's pictures and sketches, together with some notes on his work, etc. by Robert C. Leslie., compiled by C. R. Leslie, R.A., published 1896 (416 pp., London: Chapman and Hall) accessible at: East Sussex Libraries   View Online

Memoirs of the life of John Constable: Composed chiefly of his letters, compiled by C. R. Leslie, R.A., published 1951 (434 pp., London: The Phaidon Press)   View Online
C.R. Leslie's memoir of his friend John Constable was first published in 1843 (with an expanded second edition in 1845) and has remained the standard biography of Constable ever since. The book is chiefly compiled from Constable's own correspondence and conversation; indeed its great authority arises from the fact that the story is told almost throughout in the subject's own words. Constable wrote as he painted, with an acute and serious eye on the subject, and with a spontaneous presentation of imagery; he also showed over and over again a robust wit and a taste for gossip. Leslie's memoir is thus still valuable on two counts: it is a classic biography, in which the author's warm and engaging personality is portrayed as freshly as on the first day of publication, and it is a art-historical source-book for the life and opinions of England's greatest landscape painter. This edition contains Leslie's complete and unabridged text. The preface and explanatory notes are by Jonathan Mayne, who also selected and annotated the 72 illustrations.

Memoirs of the life of John Constable: Composed chiefly of his letters, compiled by C. R. Leslie, R.A., published 1971 (reprint, ISBN-10: 0706316177 & ISBN-13: 9780706316179) accessible at: West Sussex Libraries

John Constable: The man and his work, by Carlos Peacock, published 1971 (144 pp., John Baker, ISBN-10: 0212359266 & ISBN-13: 9780212359264) accessible at: West Sussex Libraries

John Constable: A Biography, 1776-1837, by Freda Constable, published 31 October 1975 (152 pp., Terence Dalton Ltd., ISBN-10: 0900963549 & ISBN-13: 9780900963544) accessible at: West Sussex Libraries

Constable: paintings, Watercolours & Drawings, by Leslie Parris, Ian Fleming-Williams and Conal Shields, published 1976 (204 pp., London: Tate Gallery, ISBN-10: 0905005007 & ISBN-13: 9780905005003) accessible at: West Sussex Libraries

John Constable, by John A. Walker, published 26 November 1979 (168 pp., Thames & Hudson Ltd., ISBN-10: 0500091331 & ISBN-13: 9780500091333) accessible at: West Sussex Libraries

John Constable, by Peter D. Smith, published 1 August 1981 (96 pp., Clematis Press ltd., ISBN-10: 0568001869 & ISBN-13: 9780568001862) accessible at: West Sussex Libraries

John Constable: The Man and His Art , by Ronald Parkinson, published 31 July 1998 (160 pp., V & A Publications, ISBN-10: 185177243X & ISBN-13: 9781851772438) accessible at: West Sussex Libraries
Both an introduction to John Constable's life and a companion to the Victoria and Albert Museum's collection, this book ranges from his early years at the Royal Academy, through his relationship with fellow artist, William Turner, to his last years in Hampstead. The Constable Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, much of which was the gift and bequest of the artist's daughter, is the largest and most comprehensive anywhere. It is particularly strong in preparatory studies which give an insight into the creative process, and provides a view of how some of Constable's major masterpieces came into being. The book is illustrated throughout in colour with key paintings and drawings and details which reveal Constable's mastery of technique.

Constable, by Jonathan Clarkson, published 20 October 2010 (240 pp., London: Phaidon Press, ISBN-10: 0714842958 & ISBN-13: 9780714842950) accessible at: West Sussex Libraries & East Sussex Libraries
This lavishly illustrated monograph of the great British landscapist John Constable (1776-1837) presents a definitive survey of the painter's life and works. Jonathan Clarkson offers a comprehensive assessment of Constable's oeuvre, from his earliest line drawings to his last masterpieces, including pencil drawings, quick outdoor oil sketches, painstakingly worked studio canvases, and less well-known portraits.
Born the son of a miller, merchant, and gentleman farmer in the small village of East Bergholt, Suffolk, it was not immediately obvious that John Constable would pursue a career in the art world. However, the young Constable became a keen amateur landscape painted, inspired by the rural surroundings of his beloved Bergholdt home. With the encouragement of local wealthy connoisseur Sir George Beaumont, whose collection introduced the artist to such masters of landscape as Claude Lorrain, and an allowance from his father, Constable was admitted to the Royal Academy Schools, London, in 1799. There he studied the work of such masters as Lorrain, Gainsborough, and Ruisdael and developed his own style of meticulous observation of natural detail combined with contemporary artistic theory. Upon leaving the Academy, Constable rejected a financially rewarding position as a drawing master in favor of sketching and painting in the English countryside for nearly ten years. He spent his time in pursuit of an honest yet coherent and dignified 'natural' style, and pioneered the revolutionary practice of making finished paintings outdoors, direct from nature. Commercial success came with Constable's decision to exhibit large works at the British Institution. These 'six-footers,' which secured his position among the greatest British painters of his age, included such enduringly famous canvases as The Hay Wain.
In this new monograph Clarkson looks at these grand paintings with a fresh view, investigating what we can actually see in them. Set against the rapidly changing way of life in nineteenth-century Britain, Constable's paintings are both portraits of a disappearing world and reflections of his belief that 'painting is a science, and should be pursued as an inquiry into the laws of nature.' Since his death, Constable has been condemned for presenting a willfully inauthentic vision of the early nineteenth-century English countryside, which was ravaged by unemployment, crime, and intense poverty in the years following the Napoleonic wars. However, his importance for Realism and for painting as a practice in itself cannot be underestimated. Clarkson draws attention to Constable's direct influence on landscape painters as well as figurative artists from his own time to the present, citing examples such as Lucien Freud and Frank Auerbach.

Constable at Petworth, by T. Wilcox, published 2014 in Apollo : the international magazine of art and antiques (no. 618, article, pp.182-183)

John Constable, by William Vaughan, published 4 September 2015 (96 pp., Tate Publishing, ISBN-10: 1849762775 & ISBN-13: 9781849762779) accessible at: West Sussex Libraries
John Constable is best known for his idyllic paintings of the English countryside. Yet he was also a brilliant innovator who brought a new vivacity to the observation of nature. He practiced oil painting in the open air, capturing in particular the 'effervescent' effects of atmospherics - as can be seen, for example, in his wonderful studies of clouds. His art became a benchmark for naturalist painters throughout Europe and America in the nineteenth century, and he continues to be one of the most popular and influential artists to this day. This book draws extensively on the artist's own correspondence to provide a fresh understanding of his artistic aims and achievements, and reassesses his role in the development of modern art.

Constable and Brighton: Something out of nothing, by Shan Lancaster, published 11 May 2017 (144 pp., Scala Arts Publishers Inc., ISBN-10: 178551069X & ISBN-13: 9781785510694) accessible at: West Sussex Libraries
Features the most comprehensive selection of Constable's Brighton studies ever assembled, including works from private collections never published before?Contains an exquisite bonus selection of Turner's marine studies of Brighton from the same period, alongside authoritative texts on both artists There was more to John Constable's art than the great rural landscapes for which he is famous. This lavishly illustrated book focuses on a largely overlooked element in his life - his close and artistically rewarding relationship with the boisterous resort of Brighton during the years 1824-28.He went in search of healthy air for his ailing wife Maria and the peace to help him clear a backlog of commissions, and became accustomed to painting on the beach or up by the windmills that dotted the Sussex Downs.More than 100 small, vivid studies from these walks exist, most dashed off outside in all weathers, some that are almost abstract responses to storms or the light on the sea. This book assembles the most complete collection of these Brighton sketches ever published, some of them only recently discovered.Regency Brighton - what was then the largest and most fashionable resort in Europe - is also explored through maps and prints, tracing the routes Constable took through the developing town. His great contemporary, Turner, was also active there in the mid-1820s, and a range of contrasting views by both artists is featured here.All of this new research builds on the recent discovery of the precise location of Constable s seaside lodgings. In a final section the current occupant, artist Peter Harrap, is interviewed about Constable's resonances with 20th and 21st century artists.