Currier Museum of Art
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- 19th Century English Painting
- Dedham Lock and Mill , 1820
- oil on canvas
- 21 1/2 in. x 30 1/2 in. (54.61 cm x 77.47 cm)
- John Constable (East Bergholt, England, 1776 - 1837, Hampstead, England)
- Museum Purchase: Currier Funds, 1949.8
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Constable often remarked that he preferred to paint his native English countryside. Dedham Mill, owned by his father, and the surrounding Stour Valley were among the artist's favorite subjects. In this tranquil view, cows graze while a man prepares the lock for a passing boat. The tower of Dedham Church, a recurring motif in the artist's oeuvre, or work, is visible in the distance. This landscape reflects the Romantic ideal of man and nature living in harmony.
Constable approached painting with the inquisitive exactness of a scientist. He was a meteorologist by avocation, and his ability to paint accurately various cloud formations as well as the vagaries of weather was a result of his countless studies of the subject. Constable first sketched out-of-doors in pencil or oil, then returned to the studio where he completed the full-scale painting. His close observation of nature, his method of working outdoors, and his use of light as an evocative element all profoundly influenced the Barbizon painters such as Corot and Impressionists.
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