CONSTABLE, John
(b. 1776, East Bergholt, d. 1837, Hampstead)

Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop's Grounds

c. 1825
Oil on canvas, 88 x 112 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Constable in his day was the preeminent painter of the English landscape, and although he never achieved the overwhelming success of his contemporary Turner, his naturalist's vision had far greater impact on the history of 19th-century painting. In 1822 John Fisher, bishop of Salisbury, commissioned from Constable a view of Salisbury Cathedral. The bishop rejected the canvas, which is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, because it had a stormy sky, and the artist painted a highly finished variant with a bright sky in 1826. The latter is now in the Frick Collection, New York. The figures on the left are the bishop and his wife.

This oil sketch is the fifth of six paintings of the cathedral seen from the south that Constable produced between 1820 and 1826. It is a full-scale preparatory sketch for a finished work in the Frick Collection.