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Introduction / Chapter 1. Careless Boyhood Growing up in East Bergholt / Chapter 2. Running After Pictures Student Life in London / Chapter 3. Obscurity Life as a Minor Artist / Chapter 4. The Light of Nature Oil Sketching in the Open Air / Chapter 5. Ambition Six-Footers and Set-Pieces (1816-28) / Chapter 6. Beyond Constable Country Salisbury, Hampstead, Brighton (1816-27) / Chapter 7. Representing the City The Story of Waterloo Bridge / Chapter 8. The Face of the World is Totally Changed to Me Bereavement and Professional Recognition / Chapter 9. Rediscovery and Reinvention Critics and Supporters / Chronology / Map / Biography / Index / Acknowledgements
Jonathan Clarkson lectures on the history and theory of art at Cardiff School of Art and Design, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff. He completed his Ph.D. on psychoanalysis, fantasy and the visual imagination at the University of Essex in 1996. He has published an essay on Constable's Wivenhoe Park and was co-editor of Constable and Wivenhoe Park: Reality and Vision (2000). He has also published essays on contemporary painting, photography and sculpture, and was co-editor of Sense of Place (2006) documenting a Europe-wide programme of exhibitions of site-specific art.
'John Constable presents one of the great paradoxes of art history. In his time his approach to painting was so radical that his contemporaries were almost totally baffled by it. He was, it is true, elected RA, but only grudgingly and late in the life. In the 20th century, however, he became so popular that his paintings came almost to epitomise the term chocolate box. To understand this paradox, and the full extraordinary complexity and originality of this, certainly for me, greatest of all English painters (and yes including Turner) you have only to turn to a new, luminously intelligent, totally authoritative, yet highly readable introduction to Constable by Jonathan Clarkson.' Simon Wilson, RA Royal Society of Arts magazine, Autumn 2010 'Clarkson believes that Constable's enduring popularity has led to people becoming immune to his work - So while this volume contains perfectly reproduced masterpieces like The Hay Wain, it also includes plenty of lesser known sketches, studies and portraits to redress the balance. Clarkson takes the time to explain the historical backdrop at each stage Constable's career and how this impacted upon him. This dedication makes for a rich and cohesive read.' Artists & Illustrators, November 2010 'illuminating' Beautiful Britain, November 2010 'a thorough and careful overview of Constable's life and career - [Clarkson] takes nothing for granted, and is adept at outlining the historical context of the art world in which Constable worked - There are several acute passages of analysis of the paintings themselves, written so as to evoke not only the look of the paint, but its smell and feel as a liquid material. - Constable's paintings are almost overladen with emotion, but Clarkson's fair, balanced exposition holds it in check. - The quality [of illustrations] is generally very good.' Timothy Wilcox, The Burlington Magazine, April 2011