Constable's Salisbury Masterpiece

by Michael Ford last modified 24 May, 2013 01:52 PM

John Constable's 'Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows' has been bought from private owners for £23.1 million in a deal arranged by the Tate Gallery.

The Tate brokered a partnership with four other galleries- the National Museum of Wales, the National Galleries of Scotland, the Colchester and Ipswich Museums and the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum- which will all exhibit the work in turn.

The Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam, said: “I am delighted that this painting by John Constable of Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows has been saved for the nation and that the South Wiltshire Museum is one of five where it will be displayed.

“When they visited Salisbury John Constable and his wife, Maria, stayed in the home of their friend Bishop John Fisher. That is why there are a number of paintings by Constable of the cathedral. This painting is perhaps the greatest of them and is one of the nation's favourite paintings. In it the cathedral's spire rises with soaring hope above dark storm clouds and the rainbow over the cathedral speaks of God's covenant with all the earth. It still speaks strongly of the purpose and hope of our cathedral.

“I very much look forward to the painting being displayed here in The Cathedral Close when it comes to the South Wiltshire Museum in 2016.”

The Dean of Salisbury, June Osborne, said "Salisbury Cathedral is one of England's best loved buildings and Constable's views of the Cathedral are universally recognised. They speak to us of the Christian legacy of this nation and the conviction of so many down the ages that God has both blessed and watched over our land.

"It is marvellous news that this cherished image has been secured as a national treasure and the enjoyment of seeing it will bring enormous pleasure to many people. We very much look forward to welcoming it back to Salisbury in 2016. It will be a happy homecoming!"

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The painting is included in the Bishop’s book The Art of Worship, published by The National Gallery London in 2011.

The Bishop of Salisbury
The Dean of Salisbury 
Salisbury Cathedral
Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum

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