Enter your search into one or more of the boxes below:
You can refine your search by selecting from any of the options below:
John Constable: A Biography
Foyalty 75

John Constable: A Biography (Hardback)

Pre-order for despatch on publication.


John Constable (1776-1837), the revolutionary nineteenth-century painter of the landscapes and skies of southern England, is Britain's best-loved but perhaps least understood artist. The major Constable exhibitions held since 2000 in London, Paris, New York and Washington attracted unprecedented numbers of visitors and wide press coverage. Constable's Hay-Wain, one of the top five 'must-see' paintings in the National Gallery, is rivalled only by Gainsborough's Morning Walk and Turner's Fighting Temeraire as the painting that speaks for the achievements of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British art. As biographer of Gainsborough and Turner, James Hamilton's special insights give a unique perspective to Constable, and set him in his proper context as a giant of European art.

While his paintings reflect visions of landscape that shocked and perplexed his contemporaries, he could himself also shock and perplex with his argumentative and revealing letters. John Constable was an active and energetic correspondent. His letters and diaries - there are altogether over one thousand letters from and to him - reveal a man of passion, opinion and discord, while his character and personality is concealed behind the high shimmering colour of his paintings.

The paintings show him to be attentive to detail, spontaneous in gesture, brave in his use of colour, and so powerful an advocate for his native county that even after two hundred years his work is scrutinised for social and agricultural information. What we learn from his landscapes is that Constable had sharp local knowledge of Suffolk, a clarity of expression of the skyscapes above Hampstead, an understanding of the human tides in London and Brighton, and a rare ability in his late paintings of Salisbury Cathedral to transform silent suppressed passion into paint. His tight geographical boundary within the south of England defines his world view.

Letters to and from his family shine light not only on Constable himself, but on his parents who had an enduring concern for him. They reveal too the lives and circumstances of his brothers and his sisters, his cousins and his aunts, who serve to define the social and economic landscape against which he can be most clearly seen. These multifaceted reflections draw a sharp picture of John Constable, the person as well as the painter.

James Hamilton's biography reveals a complex, troubled man, and will explode previous mythologies about this timeless artist.

Art, Fashion & PhotographyArt monographs, history & theoryArt treatments & subjectsAnimals & nature in art still life, landscapes & seascapesBiographyBiography: generalBiography: arts & entertainment Publisher: Orion Publishing Co Publication Date: 04/03/2021 ISBN-13: 9781474612913  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
Availability: Pre-order for despatch on publication. Pre-Order

James Hamilton is an art and cultural historian. His books include TURNER: A LIFE, shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and A STRANGE BUSINESS: MAKING ART AND MONEY IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY BRITAIN, which in 2014 was named Art Book of the Year by the SUNDAY TIMES. Hamilton was until retirement in 2013 curator of art collections and projects in Portsmouth, Wakefield, Sheffield, Leeds and the University of Birmingham, where he is a Fellow of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

More books by James Hamilton

Leave Review


Delivery Options

All delivery times quoted are the average, and cannot be guaranteed. These should be added to the availability message time, to determine when the goods will arrive. During checkout we will give you a cumulative estimated date for delivery.

Location 1st Book Each additional book Average Delivery Time
Free UK Standard Delivery on Orders Over £20 (2nd Class)     3-5 Days
UK Standard Delivery (2nd Class) £2.75 £0.00 3-5 Days
UK 1st Class Delivery £3.75 £0.00 1-2 Days
Click and Collect / 
Delivery to a Foyles Bookshop
Free Free From 2 hours - Individual item delivery times given at checkout
UK Courier £7.95 £0.00 1 Working Day
Western Europe**Airmail £9.00 £1.00 7-8 Days
Rest of World Airmail £12.50 £1.00 7-10 Days

** Includes Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Irish Republic, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Click and Collect is available for all our shops; collection times will vary depending on availability of items. Individual despatch times for each item will be given at checkout.

Delivery Help & FAQs

A Year of Books Subscription Packages 

Delivery is free for the UK. Western Europe costs £60 for each 12 month subscription package purchased. For the Rest of the World the cost is £100 for each package purchased. All delivery costs are charged in advance at time of purchase. For more information please visit the A Year of Books page.

Returns Information

If you are not completely satisfied with your purchase*, you may return it to us in its original condition with in 30 days of receiving your delivery or collection notification email for a refund. Except for damaged items or delivery issues the cost of return postage is borne by the buyer. Your statutory rights are not affected.

* For Exclusions and terms on damaged or delivery issues see Returns Help & FAQs

You might also like

A Trick of the Light: A Highland...
Ali Carter
The Plant-Hunter's Atlas: A World ...
Ambra Edwards; Kew Royal Botanic...
The Art of Nature Painting in...
Kristine A. Lombardi
Theodore Rousseau and the Rise of the...
Simon Kelly
© W&G Foyle Ltd
Foyles uses cookies to help ensure your experience on our site is the best possible. Click here if you’d like to find out more about the types of cookies we use.
Accept and Close