Often mentioned in the same breath, Constable (1776-1837) lived just 16 miles upriver from where Gainsborough was born in East Bergholt, a village on the River Stour in Suffolk. His paintings of the Dedham Vale made him one of the most famous landscape artists of the 19th century, and his work is still admired worldwide. Constable’s first great success (which brought him recognition by the Royal Academy) was with A Boat Passing a Lock which depicted the Stour Valley, the first painting of many inspired by Suffolk’s landscape.
View Outside Sudbury by Thomas Gainsborough, mid 1740s
Even now, two centuries after Constable and Gainsborough last drew a brush across canvas, art lovers flock from across the globe to Suffolk and explore the county that inspired such memorable paintings. The 500-year-old Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich holds the largest collection of Constable and Gainsborough’s work outside London, and is a must-visit if you want to examine the great masters’ work up close.