In the Footsteps of an Artist

In the Footsteps of an Artist

Tea room named after the artist Alfred Munnings, in Lavenham

“Constable Country” is an excellent short Ramblers holiday, based upon the work and times of the artist, John Constable, and based in North Essex and South Suffolk.

John Constable was born in 1776 in East Bergholt. He spent a short but unhappy time at school in Lavenham, the scene of the flourishing wool and cloth industry from the 14th to mid 17th centuries.

John’s happier years were spent attending Grammar school at nearby Dedham. He walked from his home at East Bergholt daily, past the water meadows of the river Stow. It was here that many of his pictures were conceived: “The Haywain”, The Leaping Horse” and the famous “Boat Building at Flatford Mill”.

“You know, I have always succeeded best with my nature scenes. They have always charmed me and I hope they always will.” John Constable wrote this in a letter of 1812 to Miss Bicknell, who would afterwards become his wife and mother of his five children. She died of tuberculosis, aged only 41, and Constable spent the rest of his life mourning her and looking after his children. They are all buried in a family tomb in Hampstead, London.

Rambler trips were also made to the interesting Roman stronghold of Colchester, with its wall measuring 13/4 miles; to Lavenham and to Long Melford, both areas of outstanding scenery and ancient Flemish houses.

This was a lovely holiday. We walked daily, saw interesting and varied wildlife, flora and fauna, visited coffee and tea shops and spent happy hours in the many beautiful churches of the area. We stayed at the prestigious Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Spa and Golf complex, where the stay was exceedingly comfortable and the meals delicious.

I would thoroughly recommend this holiday. It was excellent.