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John Constable RA, Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows

Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, 20 March 1837

John Constable RA (1776 - 1837)

RA Collection: Art

This large mezzotint engraving of the six-footer that Constable considered the summation of his achievement in landscape painting, is the last and arguably the finest achievement of one of the closest collaborations between a painter and a printmaker in the history of British art. Although dated in this impression as published on 20 March 1837, owing to Constable's constant last-minute alterations and changes of mind the plate did not in fact go to press on that day and was to remain unpublished for another 11 years after Constable's sudden death only ten days later. Constable had been particularly worried about the rainbow - indeed the last words in the last letter he wrote to Lucas the day before he died were 'We cannot fail of this plate with a proper bow'. Fortunately we know Lucas's final alterations met with the painter's approval since, on seeing the rich and full tone achieved in proofs pulled by a 'ruffian' printer hired for the purpose (whose suggestions and opinions he wisely heeded), Constable wrote in triumph that 'The print is a noble and beautifull thing - entirely improved and entirely made perfect.'

Object details

Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows
John Constable RA (1776 - 1837)
Engraved by
David Lucas (1802 - 1881)
Published by
20 March 1837
Object type
Place of Publication
Etching and mezzotint

550 mm x 688 mm

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
Given by David Lucas January 1840
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