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“Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows” by John Constable

Constable Salisbury meadows

“Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows” by John Constable

“Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows” by John Constable was painted one year after the death of his wife and was a personal statement of his turbulent emotions at that time. The sky reflects this turbulence and shows his emotional state of being.

Constable later highlighted the lines from a poem called The Seasons by James Thomson that helped him to explain the painting’s meaning. In essence, the rainbow was a symbol of hope after a storm that follows on the death of a young woman in the arms of her lover. Some further symbolism in this painting that represented Constables’ emotions includes:

  • the grave marker, a symbol of death
  • the ash tree, a symbol of life
  • the church, a symbol of faith and resurrection
  • the rainbow, a symbol of renewed optimism

John Constable was an English Romantic painter known principally for his landscape paintings of Dedham Vale, the area surrounding his home which he painted with a passion. Although his pictures are now famous and valuable, he was not financially successful during his lifetime. His work was more popular in France, where he sold more works than in his native England and which helped inspired the Barbizon school.

Exploring the National Gallery, London

Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows

  • Title:            Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows
  • Artist:          John Constable
  • Year:            1831
  • Type:           Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 151.8 cm × 189.9 cm (59.8 in × 74.8 in)
  • Museum:      National Gallery, London

John Constable

  • Artist:          John Constable
  • Born:           1776 – East Bergholt, Suffolk, East Anglia, England
  • Died:           1837 (aged 60) – London, England
  • Nationality: English
  • Notable works:
    • Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows


“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”
– Napoleon Bonaparte


Photo Credit: 1) National Gallery [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons