Old Sarum thumbnail 1
Old Sarum thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
Not currently on display at the V&A
On short term loan out for exhibition

Old Sarum

Watercolour
1834 (painted)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Constable rarely toured in search of scenes to paint. His works usually show places that he knew well, or visited for reasons other than painting. This watercolour dates from his last visit to his friend John Fisher, who lived in Salisbury, England.
Old Sarum (from the Roman name for Salisbury) had fallen into decay by the 16th century. It was therefore a popular subject with artists who wanted to paint ruined or wild landscapes. These were favourite subjects with artists during the 'picturesque' period of the late 1700s. They were also popular with artists of the 'Romantic' movement of the early 19th century, when Constable painted this picture.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Watercolour
Brief Description
John Constable, Old Sarum, 1834, Reynolds cat. no. 359
Physical Description
Landscape with clouds, foliage, fields, and a figure and dog in the foreground.
Dimensions
  • Height: 11.5cm
  • Width: 18.1cm
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
'J WHATMAN 1830' (watermark)
Gallery Label
John Constable 1776-1837 Old Sarum Exhibited at the Royal Academy 1834 Constable wrote about this abandoned medieval town near Salisbury. 'The present appearance of Old Sarum - wild, desolate, and dreary - contrasts strongly with its former greatness. This proud and "towered city", once giving laws to the whole kingdom...can now be traced but by vast embaknments and ditches, tracked by only sheep-walks'. Watercolour with some pen and ink on paper Bequeated by Isabel Constable, as the gift of Maria Louisa, Isabel and Lionel Bicknell Constable, 1888 Museum no. 1628-1888
Credit line
Bequeathed by Isabel Constable, daughter of the artist
Historical context
'In 1834 Constable exhibited at the Royal Academy three water-colour drawings and a pencil drawing: the former included 'The Mound of the City of Old Sarum, from the south' (No. 359 [1628-1888]) and a view of Stoke Poges Church. He visited George Constable for the first time at Arundel in July and Lord Egremont at Petworth in September.'



[G Reynolds, 1973, p. 215]
Subject depicted
Place Depicted
Summary
Constable rarely toured in search of scenes to paint. His works usually show places that he knew well, or visited for reasons other than painting. This watercolour dates from his last visit to his friend John Fisher, who lived in Salisbury, England.

Old Sarum (from the Roman name for Salisbury) had fallen into decay by the 16th century. It was therefore a popular subject with artists who wanted to paint ruined or wild landscapes. These were favourite subjects with artists during the 'picturesque' period of the late 1700s. They were also popular with artists of the 'Romantic' movement of the early 19th century, when Constable painted this picture.
Bibliographic References
  • Grey, Anne and John Gage Constable. Impressions of Land, Sea and Sky Canberra: National Gallery of Australia, 2006. ISBN: 0642541566.
  • Graham Reynolds, Catalogue of the Constable Collection, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: HMSO, 1973, pp. 215, 216
  • Evans, M., with N. Costaras and C. Richardson, John Constable. Oil Sketches from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London: V&A, 2011, p. 33, fig. 30.
  • Timothy Wilcox, Constable and Salisbury. The Soul of Landscape London: Scala Publishers Ltd, 2011. ISBN: 978 1 85759 678 6.
Other Number
359, plate 265 - Reynolds catalogue no.
Collection
Accession Number
1628-1888

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record createdFebruary 15, 2003
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