240 x 185mm, 160 pages
ISBN 978 1 85514 398 2
Pub date March 2009
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Out of Print
The Painter & His Circle
by Martin Gayford and Anne Lyles
This book is the first of its kind to focus exclusively on Constable and his portraits.
John Constable (1776-1837) is renowned throughout the world as a landscape painter of profound originality. Far less familiar are his portraits, studies and drawings of people. This book argues that many of these unexplored paintings are worthy of close attention, both for their contribution to the history of portraiture and for the insights they bring to a painter of international acclaim.
Constable's sitters make up a 'Jane Austen' world, belonging to the middle and upper ranks of early-nineteenth century provincial society: clergymen and their wives, landed gentry and families wealthy from trade. From the outset, Constable was interested in landscapes but was forced to supplement his allowance by painting portraits. A number of these previously unknown works are featured in this accessible yet scholarly book, including family members, close friends and children, as well as commissioned portraits. Collectively, they provide a fascinating study of the period.
This book and exhibition seek to vindicate the view of Lucian Freud that Constable belongs to an important tradition of British portraiture, to bring Constable's portraits back to the fore, and give them the critical acclaim that they deserve.
Published to accompany the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London (5 March - 14 June 2009).