DETAIL: John CONSTABLE,  Great Britain 1776 � 1837  'Harwich Lighthouse' c.1820 oil on canvas Tate, London, gift of Maria Louisa Constable, Isabel Constable and Lionel Bicknell Constable in 1888 Tate, London 2005
John CONSTABLE | Autumnal sunset

Great Britain 1776 – 1837
Autumnal sunset c.1812
oil on paper laid on canvas
17.1 (h) x 33.6 (w) cm
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, gift of Isabel Constable in 1888
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In this evening view over the fields a man and a woman walk down the ancient path connecting East Bergholt with the neighbouring village of Stratford St Mary. The figure on a horse is about to descend the farm track to Vale Farmhouse (St John 2002, p. 7). Constable has shown  the sun glowing across the undulating landscape, but not reaching into the valley, which remains in shadow.He included a flight of rooks  to enhance the atmosphere of the evening effect.

He later wrote: ‘Autumn only is called the painter’s season, from the great richness of the colours of the dead and decaying foliage, and the peculiar tone and beauty of the skies’ (Beckett, Discourses, p. 15). Constable was fond of this image and in 1829 selected it as one of the works for Lucas  to translate into mezzotint: Autumnal sunset  .

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