Dedham Vale Morning, 1811
Oil on canvas, 31.02 x 50.98 inches [78.8 x 129.5 cm]
Collection of Major Sir Richard Proby Bart
Constable's father was a wealthy corn merchant who owned mills at Dedham and Flatford along the banks of the River Stour. Constable had a deep love for nature and the countryside and all his life painted what he loved and was familiar with. The region around the Stour valley in his native Sussex is known today as 'Constable Country'. In 1819 Constable and his wife moved to Hampstead, which then became the main focus of his later work. More than any other artist before him, Constable strove to reveal "a pure and unaffected representation" of the countryside around him. Constable was fascinated by the effects of light, wind and rain on the landscape and often painted the same scene more than once. He would frequently pin a canvas to the inside lid of his paint-box and paint directly onto his portable easel, such as his The Stour of 1810. Some of Constable's more famous early oil paintings are Dedham Vale: Morning (1811, Elton Hall, Huntingdonshire); Boatbuilding near Flatford Mill (1814-1815, Victoria and Albert Museum, London); The Stour Valley and Dedham Village (1815, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston); Flatford Mill on the River Stour (1817, Tate Gallery, London); 'A Church Porch' (The Church Porch, East Bergholt) (1809), Landscape: Boys Fishing (1813), Wivenhoe Park (1816), and Weymouth Bay (1816). Flatford Mill was his last painting of this period which he created "en plein-air".