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John Constable’s Life in London

John Constable (1776 – 1837) was a famous English Romantic painter known mainly for his landscape paintings. Because he painted so many landscapes, many art enthusiasts don’t ever think of him as somebody living in a city.

But he was a Londoner for many years, and in 1837 he died in London. So most of the “exciting” things in his life happened in London. This article will look at his studies in London, the paintings and drawings done while a Londoner, especially the so-called “six-footers,” and the exhibitions and other career events in London.

Why Some Art Lovers Don’t Think of the Painter John Constable as a Londoner?

Most of John Constable paintings are landscape paintings, and many of them depict different scenes of Dedham Vale. He created so many landscape paintings of this area that the Dedham Vale area is known as “Constable Country.”

He also sold more paintings in Paris, France, than in London during his lifetime. his might have contributed to the incorrect perception that he was not a Londoner. But although Dedham Vale was his favorite place to paint, he lived in London for many years.

About Painter John Constable as Londoner Since 1799

In 1799, John Constable whole-heartedly persuaded his father to let him follow an art career. His first contact with London as an artist was when he entered the Royal Academy School to study art. He attended life classes and studied and copied old masters.

In 1802 he finally decided to become a professional landscape painter, and by 1803 he was exhibiting some of his paintings at the Royal Academy in London. Constable got married to Maria Elizabeth Bicknell in October 1816, and they settled inLondon.

By 1817 Constable was an established Londoner. During this time, he also adopted a routine of spending winter in London and painting at East Bergholt in summer.

Learn about John Constable’s recognition in London

The White Horse – John Constable

In 1819, ‘The White Horse’- the first of the important “six-footer” John Constable paintings was sold. As a result of the success of this painting, Constable became an associate of the Royal Academy.

Constable’s election as an associate of the Royal Academy in London inspired him to paint the series of six monumental landscapes. These paintings were later called the “six-footers” because of their monumental scale and are believed to be the most forceful landscapes created in the 1800s in Europe.

In 1831 he was appointed to the Royal Academy, where he was popular with the students. His public lectures in London on the history of landscape painting were well-attended.

More about the Paintings and Drawings of Constable Artist while in London

By 1817, when John Constable was already an established Londoner, he became a father. To support his family, he started to work hard to get professional recognition.

To achieve that, he began to paint on a large scale. He created the 6.2-foot Stour scene “The White Horse” and exhibited it at London’s 1819 Royal Academy exhibition. The massive artwork attracted public attention and generated critical approval. It also helped get him elected as an Associate of the Royal Academy.

By 1819 his wife had developed the early stages of tuberculosis, and the family rented a house in the north London suburb of Hampstead. Here he began turning his focus to the skies. The Constable artist created unique cloud studies.

Later London Life of John Constable and his “Six-footer” Landscapes

As mentioned above, Constable’s election as an associate of the Royal Academy in London inspired him to paint a series of six monumental landscapes. These paintings were created in London and later called the “six-footers” because of their massive scale.

The series consists of the following Romantic style landscape paintings:

  • “The White Horse,” (1819)
  • “Stratford Mill,” (1820),
  • “The Hay Wain,” (1821),
  • “View on the Stour near Dedham” (1822),
  • “The Lock” (1824),
  • “The Leaping Horse” (1825).

“The Hay Wain” was completed in 1821 and originally titled “Landscape: Noon.” Constable painted a rural scene on the River Stour. “The Hay Wain” is regarded as the most famous image by the painter John Constable.

He painted it in oil on canvas. The painting shows a wood wain or large farm wagon pulled by three horses across the river. Willy Lott’s Cottage, a subject of another one of John Constable’s paintings, is visible on the far left.

The Cornfield Completed in the London Studio

John Constable completed the oil painting “The Cornfield” during the first three months of 1826 in his studio in London. This painting shows the lane leading from East Bergholt toward Dedham, Essex.

Constable painted the trees and plants in this painting as accurately as possible. The engraver David Lucas was commissioned by Constable to produce the plates of the painting used in a book called “Various Subjects of Landscape, Characteristic of English Scenery,” published in July 1830.

Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows was Created and Exhibited in London.

In 1831 John Constable created “Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows.” The painting was put for an exhibition at the Royal Academy in London in 1831, but Constable worked on it between 1833 and 1834.

To explain the meaning of the painting, Constable added lines from “The Seasons” by James Thomson. According to the lines, the rainbow is the symbol of hope after a storm that follows the demise of Amelia in the arms of her lover Celadon.

The more you learn about painterJohn Constable, the more you discover that this painting is a personal statement of his emotions and changing states of mind. Many art historians are also of the opinion that the painting has possible political meanings. The most popular theory depicts the clash of industrialization and nature.


Although John Constable loved to paint landscapes, he stayed for the most significant part of his life in London. As a result, many John Constable paintings were completed in his London studio.


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