Constable Country Area Guide
Constable Country is most celebrated for its artistic links. The most well-known of which his famous painter John Constable who was born in the village of East Bergholt in 1776. The stunning scenery on and around the River Stour are thought to have influenced much of his work in this area. His most famous piece the Hay Wain is of a well-known view in Flatford. There are also a number of other paintings he did of Constable Country including Boat Building (1814), The Mill Stream (1814), View on the Stour, near Dedham (1822), The Leaping Horse (1825) and The Lock (1826). The beautiful countryside of this part of Suffolk have also influenced other famous artists including Thomas Gainsborough, Sir Alfred Munnings and John Nash.
As well as the artistic connections there are many other things to do in this exciting part of Suffolk. The River Stour, one of the longest and most beautiful rivers in East Anglia, winds through this area and has changed very little over the centuries. You’ll be spoilt for choice for beautiful villages to drive through, many of which will have delightful pubs, peaceful country walks and cycle-paths. Not to mention the award-winning restaurants and local food producers.
Thomas Gainsborough, was born in Sudbury in 1727 and is known as one of the great figures of British and world art history. So much so that the house that his father bought is now has been transformed into a museum and gallery to explore the life and art of Gainsborough. Gainsborough’s House has a beautiful garden and is well maintained by a group of volunteers. There are many events, exhibitions and activities held here throughout the year, well worth a visit if you’re an art enthusiast.
Sir Alfred Munnings is another great painter who has links to Constable Country. He is born in Mendham, near to Harleston in Norfolk, in 1878. He is best known for his equine pieces and was even the subject of a 2013 film ‘The Summer in February’. In later later he moved himself and his family to Dedham and this is where he resided and painted many masterpieces for 40 years. This house has now been turned in The Munnings Art Museum where a large selection of his life’s work is displayed. The museum holds a range of events and exhibitions throughout the year and is situated in 40 acres of delightful gardens.
The scene of one of Constable’s most famous pictures, the Hay Wain, showing Willy Lott's house in the background. Now run by the National Trust, the facilities include the Bridge House containing the John Constable Exhibition, Flatford Mill, Willy Lott’s House and Valley Farm. The rolling countryside of this area are ideal for picnics and you can even hire row boats in the warmer months for a truly authentic river adventure. There is plenty to do here for families, why not pick up a children’s activity pack from the reception area in the car park.