HAPPILY for the lover of English landscape-painting, the whole range of Constable’s art is admirably illustrated in the National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Diploma Gallery of the Royal Academy, and the British Museum; and it is possible, therefore, to study it with ease and completeness, and without that expenditure of time and money which is so often necessary before the life-work of a painter can be seen in something like its entirety. Many of his masterpieces are, of course, in private possession, but a number of these have been exhibited from time to time in the Winter Exhibitions of the Royal Academy and elsewhere in London, through the generosity of the owners, so that the materials for a full appreciation of his genius are unusually abundant.
Most of the pictures included among the eight illustrations in this little book are well known even to those who are ignorant of much that Constable accomplished. It is almost impossible to do more than scant justice to his landscapes when reproduced on so small a scale; but they may serve to bring to those who have studied the originals a quickened memory of their beauty, and may, perhaps, induce others who are ignorant of the fresh and stimulating art of this great painter, to go to the pictures themselves, and thus form an acquaintanceship which will be an abiding delight to them. In addition, an example of Constable’s portrait-painting has been included, as his work in this direction is met with very rarely.