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Constable, Gainsborough, Turner and the Making of Landscape - RA

J.M.W. Turner, R.A. Norham Castle on the Tweed.

Exhibition preview

THIS DECEMBER, an exhibition of works by the three towering figures of English landscape painting, John Constable RA, Thomas Gainsborough RA and JMW Turner RA and their contemporaries, will open in the John Madejski Fine Rooms and the Weston Rooms at the Royal Academy of Arts.

Constable, Gainsborough, Turner and the Making of Landscape, on display from December 8, 2012 to February 17, 2013, will explore the development of the British School of Landscape Painting through the display of 120 works of art, comprising paintings, prints, books and archival material.

Since the foundation of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1768, its Members included artists who were committed to landscape painting. The exhibition draws on the Royal Academy’s Collection to underpin the shift in landscape painting during the 18th and 19th centuries.

From Founder Member Thomas Gainsborough and his contemporaries Richard Wilson and Paul Sandby, to JMW Turner and John Constable, these landscape painters addressed the changing meaning of ‘truth to nature’ and the discourses surrounding the Beautiful, the Sublime and the Picturesque.

The changing style is represented by the generalised view of Gainsborough’s works and the emotionally charged and sublime landscapes by JMW Turner to Constable’s romantic scenes infused with sentiment.

Highlights include Gainsborough’s Romantic Landscape (c. 1783), and a recently acquired drawing that was last seen in public in 1950. Constable’s two great landscapes of the 1820s, The Leaping Horse (1825) and Boat Passing a Lock (1826) will be hung alongside Turner’s brooding diploma work, Dolbadern Castle (1800).

To contextualise the landscape paintings of Constable, Gainsborough and Turner, a number of paintings by their 18th century contemporaries Richard Wilson, Michael Angelo Rooker and Paul Sandby will be exhibited with prints made after 17th century masters whose work served as models: Claude Poussin, Gaspard Dughet and Salvator Rosa.

Letters by Gainsborough, Turner’s watercolour box and Constable’s palette will also be on display, bringing their artistic practice to life.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated booklet that will include an essay by Andrew Wilton and introductions to each of the sections of the exhibition.

Constable, Gainsborough, Turner Gallery

Admission: £8 full price, concessions available. RA Friends go free.

Times: Monday to Thursday 10am to 4.30pm, Saturday to Sunday 10am to 6pm, Fridays 10am to 10pm.

Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BD

Tel: 020 7300 8000


Bronze continues at the Royal Academy of Arts until December 9, 2012.