Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows

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Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows
Constable Salisbury meadows.jpg
ArtistJohn Constable
MediumOil on canvas
Dimensions151.8 cm × 189.9 cm (59.8 in × 74.8 in)
LocationTate Britain, London or other British venues

Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows was painted by John Constable in 1831, one year after the death of his wife, Maria. It is currently on display in London, at Tate Britain, in the Clore gallery. He later added nine lines from The Seasons by the eighteenth-century poet James Thomson that reveal the painting's meaning: That the rainbow is a symbol of hope after a storm that follows on the death of the young Amelia in the arms of her lover Celadon. Constable exhibited this painting at the Royal Academy in 1831, but continued working on it during 1833 and 1834.[1]

Symbolic metaphor[edit]

This painting was a personal statement of his turbulent emotions and his changing states of mind. The sky reflects this turbulence and shows his emotional state of being.[2]

Possible political meanings have been attributed to it, one of which being the clash of industrialization and nature represented through the clash of elements.

Some symbolism in this painting includes:

  • Grave marker: symbol of death
  • Ash tree: symbol of life
  • Church: symbol of faith and resurrection
  • Rainbow: symbol of renewed optimism

Stay in the UK[edit]

In May 2013 the painting was bought by Tate for £23.1m.[3]

The acquisition was part of Aspire, a partnership between Tate and four other national and regional galleries - Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, the National Galleries of Scotland, Colchester and Ipswich Museums Service and Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum. This partnership will enable the work - which was acquired with major grants and donations from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund (including a contribution from the Wolfson Foundation), The Manton Foundation, and Tate Members - and to go on "almost constant" view, ensuring that it will stay in the UK. Each display will be complemented by an education programme which will encourage audiences to learn more about this painting and the work of John Constable.[4][3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows". National Gallery, London. Archived from the original on 2012-04-12. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
  2. ^ Constable's Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, Ben Pollitt, Smarthistory, accessed December 20, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Constable masterpiece bought by Tate for £23.1m". BBC News. 23 May 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
  4. ^ "Constable's cathedral ‘masterpiece’ is saved for the nation in £23.1million Tate deal"[1], DailyMail,16:06 GMT, 23 May 2013.

External links[edit]