The Materials and Techniques of Constable’s exhibited oils of the 1820s – 30s

Constable’s famous ‘six-footers’ include some of his most well-loved paintings: The White Horse (1819), The Haywain (1821), The Leaping Horse (1825) and Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows (1831). Their compositions were derived from small pencil and oil studies and for each Constable painted a full-size sketch. These sketches are extraordinary creations for the early 19th century and were unseen by all but his closest friends during his lifetime. Based on extensive technical research for a detailed catalogue essay for the ‘Constable: The Great Landscapes’ exhibition, at Tate Britain in 2006, this lecture discusses Constable’s diverse painting methods and brings to life his dynamic personality and artistic temperament, revealing a ‘Jackson Pollock of the 1830s’. It is illustrated with Sarah’s own highly detailed, colour slides taken during studio examinations of the paintings in preparation for the Tate exhibition.

Sarah Cove

Accredited Easel Paintings Conservator and specialist in historic painting techniques, especially British 16th-17th century and 19th-20th century. Foremost authority on Constable’s painting materials and techniques, joint author of the Tate’s 1991 ‘Constable’ and ‘Constable’s Six-Footers’ (Tate Britain, 2006) exhibition catalogues. Fine Art background; BA (Hons) History of Art (Courtauld); Internships V&A/National Portrait Gallery. Visiting Fellow at Yale 1989. Fellow of the British Association of Paintings Conservator-Restorers and International Institute for the Conservation and Preservation of Historic and Artistic Works. Extensive lecturing and teaching experience.