Landskapen som inspirerade våra mest berömda konstnärer
Though Britain is a relatively small country, it contains an infinite variety of scenery. The constantly changing face of the countryside has had a great effect on British artists and is reflected in the enormous range of styles and subjects of our greatest landscape paintings.
So spoke John Constable of the countryside and villages of his native Stour Valley on the Essex/Suffolk border. The area is a magnet for visitors the world over who know it from his paintings. In fact, it was known as 'Constable Country' even during the artist's lifetime. See his bucolic masterpieces The Hay Wain in the National Gallery and Dedham Vale at the V&A Museum then visit the glorious landscapes that inspired him.
Born in 1727 in the market town of Sudbury in Suffolk's Stour Valley, Gainsborough absorbed from boyhood the natural beauty around him. His early landscape Cornard Wood typically echoes the Sudbury countryside that he was to make his own. Mr and Mrs Andrews, now in the National Gallery, shows a couple against a ravishing harvest scene reminiscent of Sudbury's fields and hills.
Gainsborough's House, the artist's birthplace in Sudbury, displays many of his paintings and the 'quietness and ease' of footpath and bridleway make Suffolk ideal walking and horse-riding terrain. Boating on the River Stour is also popular.
Sir Edwin Henry Landseer was an English painter, born in London, most famous for his stirring and romantic depictions of the Scottish Highlands. Visit Scotland to see the landscape that moved him to create masterpieces like the Monarch of the Glen which now hangs in the National Galleries of Scotland.
Landseer was a member of the Royal Academy, a favourite of Queen Victoria and had become famous for his paintings and drawings of animals. His later works include the sculptures of the lions at the foot of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square.
His love of landscape drew him to paint many of Britain's great castles, including Kenilworth, Barnard, Pevensey, Dartmouth and Battle Abbey. His Sunrise over Norham Castle is of particular note. As is his atmospheric Rain, Steam and Speed, a wonderful depiction of a steam train as it crosses Maidenhead railway bridge, which spans the Thames between Taplow and Maidenhead.
Lowry is famous for his depiction of industrial landscapes painted in his native Lancashire and his ‘matchstick’ like figures are instantly recognizable for their charming style. You can see the world’s biggest collection of his works at the Lowry Museum in Manchester.
His early 20th-century industrial pictures capture the sometimes gritty reality of workers’ lives but splashes of colour and a wry sense of character lend a sense of individuality to his stylised figures. Don’t miss his lesser known portraits and brooding seascapes.
David Hockney is one of Britain’s best-loved modern artists, known for his brilliant use of colour, bold brushstrokes and experiments with photocollage and electronic media. Having spent much of his time in California he has returned to his native Yorkshire where he produces memorable colour-soaked canvases.
You can see many of Hockney’s finest works at the Tate galleries or at Salts Mill near his home town of Bradford. His biggest work, Bigger Trees Near Warter, measuring 15x40ft, a painting of a coppice in Yorkshire, hangs in the Tate Gallery in London.