Constable and Brighton Something Out of Nothing

Front cover image

Edited by Shân Lancaster

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Scala Arts & Heritage Publishers Ltd
Territory: World
Size: 280 mm x 218 mm
Pages: 144
Illustrations: 150 colour

RRP £25.00

  • Features the most comprehensive selection of Constable's Brighton studies ever assembled, including works from private collections never published before
  • Contains an exquisite bonus selection of Turner's marine studies of Brighton from the same period, alongside authoritative texts on both artists
  • A beautifully illustrated book written to accompany a major exhibition, Constable and Brighton, at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery in 2017

There was more to John Constable's art than the great rural landscapes for which he is famous. This lavishly illustrated book focuses on a largely overlooked element in his life - his close and artistically rewarding relationship with the boisterous resort of Brighton during the years 1824-28.

He went in search of healthy air for his ailing wife Maria and the peace to help him clear a backlog of commissions, and became accustomed to painting on the beach or up by the windmills that dotted the Sussex Downs.

More than 100 small, vivid studies from these walks exist, most dashed off outside in all weathers, some that are almost abstract responses to storms or the light on the sea. This book assembles the most complete collection of these Brighton sketches ever published, some of them only recently discovered.

Regency Brighton - what was then the largest and most fashionable resort in Europe - is also explored through maps and prints, tracing the routes Constable took through the developing town. His great contemporary, Turner, was also active there in the mid-1820s, and a range of contrasting views by both artists is featured here.

All of this new research builds on the recent discovery of the precise location of Constable s seaside lodgings. In a final section the current occupant, artist Peter Harrap, is interviewed about Constable's resonances with 20th and 21st century artists.

Shân Lancaster is a writer, editor and researcher. As a freelance journalist she has written for most national newspaper titles and as a researcher she has collaborated on numerous book developments, and television and film scripts, including the BBC Four television documentary Constable: A Country Rebel, first aired in 2014. Her research originally identified the exact location of Constable's lodgings at 9 Sober's Gardens, now 11 Sillwood Road, Brighton, and marked with a Blue Plaque.

What the press have said about this book...

"The book is more than pictures, wonderful though these are. It portrays Brighton through art, Constable through an alternative landscape, and the beginnings of the Impressionist movement." -- as featured in Literary Life

In all this, the exhibition Constable and Brighton at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery (to 8th October) does not disappoint. Both it and the accompanying book are extremely rewarding.' Indeed, the heart of the exhibition, three groups of paintings and drawings that trace Constable's explorations of the coast to the east and west of the town, along with the hinterland leading onto the South Downs, are unique, in this reviewer's experience, in tying the sequence of the hang so exactly with the ordering of the illustrations and commentary in the book. - Wilcox Burlington review

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