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 | The Glebe Farm

Great Britain 1776 – 1837
The Glebe Farm c.1830
oil on canvas
49.0 (h) x 62.0 (w) cm
Lent by the Estate of Sir Edwin A.G. Manton
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Constable painted this fourth version of The Glebe Farm more freely than any of the other three versions. Using both palette knife and brush, he gave this painting a warm tonality, with flickering highlights. He included a spire in the upper right, rather than the square tower of Langham Church of the other three images – although the spire sits on a Langham Church-style square tower. He first introduced a windmill in place of the tower, and traces of its sails are still visible beneath the spire. Reynolds has suggested that Constable is likely to have painted this work in the autumn of 1830.

The glebe was traditionally land farmed to support the living of the church, but the farm in this picture was not in fact on glebe land.

Michael Rosenthal has noted that in depicting a cottage landscape in a woodland Constable was working in the Picturesque tradition of Hobbema and Gainsborough (Rosenthal 1983, p. 180). He was moreover painting a ‘landscape of memory’ – the  rural world he depicted had since changed as a result of reforms, and had been replaced by something with which Constable was less comfortable (ibid., p. 213). However, the changes in agricultural approach, the division of the Common lands and other such ‘advances’ would have had little direct impact on this particular scene.

Lucas made a mezzotint  ) from the third and largest version of The Glebe Farm 1830 that was bequeathed to the Tate Gallery by Constable’s family in 1888.

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