The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

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5 March – 14 June 2009

John Constable (1776–1837) is celebrated as one of England’s greatest landscape artists but he also excelled in capturing likenesses and personalities. Spanning thirty years and featuring over fifty works, this exhibition will for the first time focus on his portraits and the insights they offer into Constable’s environment and influences.

Images of the artist himself are shown alongside paintings and drawings of friends and family, including touching and intimate portraits of his wife and children. To set the scene the works are interspersed with Constable’s beautiful landscape paintings of the areas surrounding his homes.

Constable’s commissioned work vividly depicts the provincial middle and upper classes including clergymen, landed gentry and families made wealthy through trade.

Direct and freshly observed, Constable’s portraits are unique in early nineteenth-century British art and collectively they provide a fascinating study of his life and work.

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Mary Freer by John Constable, 1809 - © Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

Mary Freer
by John Constable, 1809
© Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Photograph: Richard Caspole, Yale Center for British Art

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