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John Constable: Stratford Mill: 1820
We think of Constable’s landscapes as classic images of the English countryside, almost ‘chocolate boxy’ they’ve been reproduced so often, but when they were painted they were thought of as radical and daring, every bit as innovative and untraditional as Turner.
This is Stratford Mill, one of six major paintings by Constable that show scenes from the River Stour in Suffolk, the most famous of which is probably the Hay Wain.
It’s a country scene. In the foreground there is an older man and a couple of children fishing, their rods leading our eye to the barge which is moored by the side of the river. That then leads us to a gate on the far side of the bank, and to the right of that through a gap in the trees we can see a house in the distance. Over on the left of the picture is Stratford Mill itself, the water gleaming on the mill wheel as it turns, and behind this a man has stopped his horse by the river for it to have a drink. Continue reading