Date of Birth: 11/6/1776
An English Romantic painter famous for lanscape paintings of his native Suffolk, an area now known as "Constable Country." Born in Suffolk in 1776, his father was a wealthy corn merchant. In his youth, Constable embarked on amateur sketching trips in the surrounding Suffolk countryside that was to become the subject of a large proportion of his art. He studied at the Royal Academy Schools as a probationer and was influenced by the Old Masters. Constable's usual subjects, scenes of ordinary daily life, were unfashionable in an age that looked for more romantic visions of wild landscapes and ruins and although he had scraped an income from painting, it was not until 1819 that he sold his first important canvas, The White Horse. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy that year, and in 1821 he showed The Hay Wain at the Academy's exhibition. Constable painted many full-scale preliminary sketches of his landscapes in order to test the composition in advance of finished pictures which were revolutionary at the time. He also produced full-scale oil sketches and watercolours. "When I sit down to make a sketch from nature, the first thing I try to do is to forget that I have ever seen a picture." Constable quoted by Thornes, John E. (1999) in, "John Constable's Skies."