Flatford Celebrates 200th Anniversary of John Constable’s Iconic Landscape Painting The Hay Wain

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River Stour with Willy Lott’s cottage in the background in Flatford, Suffolk. Image: National Trust Images / Justin Minns

Submitted by the National Trust

This summer, the National Trust’s Flatford in Suffolk is celebrating the 200th anniversary of “The Hay Wain”, one of the most famous pieces by famous landscape painter John Constable.

Painted in 1821, “The Hay Wain” shows the Mill Basin at Flatford on the River Stour. Today the painting is in residence at the National Gallery, but visitors flock to Flatford to see the sight that inspired Constable’s work.

Many of Constable’s landscapes have been painted from the idyllic Suffolk countryside and the Dedham Vale Area of ​​Outstanding Natural Beauty which surrounds Flatford, where Constable spent his childhood and youth.

To celebrate the famous painting’s bicentenary, the National Trust is working in partnership with the Essex Cultural Diversity Project and has commissioned a creative project that celebrates the anniversary and connects its visitors to Constable and the Dedham Vale countryside.

Visitors comparing Constable’s paintings to the scene in Flatford, Suffolk. Image: NTPL / Arnhel de Serra

Successful artists have been announced as Laurence Harding and Liz Harrington, artist photographers specializing in the process of experimental and historical photography.

Over the summer, artists will work in Flatford to create an immersive and interactive installation that explores the parallels between photography and painting and celebrates the idyllic views that inspired Constable.

The finished piece will evolve over the summer and will consist of floor-to-ceiling cyanotype panels (a photographic printing process that produces cyan-blue prints) inspired by the landscape, photographs taken using cameras pinhole photo and smaller pieces created using a range of other historical and experimental photographic techniques.

Cyanotyped print of the Hay Wain sight in Flatford. Image: Liz Harrington and Laurence Harding

Visitors and local community groups will be able to participate in the creation of the final piece, working with the artists in pop-up workshops to learn about photographic techniques and contribute to the exhibition. The final work will be on display in The Granary exhibition space in Flatford later this year.

“Shingles” by Liz Harrington.

Simon Peachey, Hospitality Manager at Flatford, said: “We are delighted that Laurence and Liz are the successful artists. What impressed us the most was their idea of ​​celebrating Hay Wain through the use of sustainable photographic techniques. In addition, their enthusiasm to share their work with visitors and engage new audiences should allow as many people as possible to learn more about The Hay Wain.

The Island of Two Trees by Laurence Harding

Indi Sandhu, CEO and Creative Director of the Essex Cultural Diversity Project, said: “We are delighted to partner again with the National Trust on this exciting project for Flatford, as part of our Arts Council NPO commission program. from England.

“The Bourne Mill projects in Colchester and the National Trust properties in Coggeshall have paved the way for artists to help visitors connect to the rich history of these treasured sites, and we look forward to continuing this important work.”

The artists, Laurence and Liz, said: “We are delighted and honored to have been selected for this exciting commission on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Constable’s ‘The Hay Wain’. Inspired by Constable and the landscape of Flatford, we will be using a range of experimental, historical and enduring photographic techniques to create a series of new works, including a large-scale participatory community installation.

“We really look forward to working with ECDP and the National Trust over the next few months, as well as interacting with site visitors, providing an alternate means of interacting with Constable’s work and location. in an accessible, fun and creative way. . “

More information on the project here.

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