Constable painting has a BIG impact on Ipswich art gallery

Tobias Aldred (1) admires the Constable painting on show at Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich.

Tobias Aldred (1) admires the Constable painting on show at Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

It’s the centrepiece of the most important art exhibition at Ipswich’s Wolsey Gallery for years – but what is the most striking feature of John Constable’s masterpiece Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows?

For many visitors it is the sheer size. It takes up the best part of a wall at the gallery in Christchurch Mansion.

It’s fractionally under 5ft tall and 6ft 3ins wide – not including its frame. It dominates the gallery.

Certainly one-year-old Tobias Aldred found the scale of the painting mind-boggling when he visited the gallery yesterday.

The painting is the centrepiece of the Aspire exhibition at the gallery which runs until February next year. It will be joined by other masterpieces at different times over the year.

The painting has already managed to encourage many more visitors than usual to the museum since it arrived in Ipswich at the start of the year.

A spokesman for the borough said: “We have seen a significant increase in the number of visitors to both the Wolsey Gallery and the mansion as a whole since the painting arrived.

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“The children’s workshops we are running in connection with the painting are proving hugely popular – it’s certainly caught the imagination of people of all ages.”

It is part of the Tate collection having been bought for £23 million two years ago by a consortium backed by the Colchester and Ipswich Museums’ Service.

It is spending time at each of the museums which are part of the consortium – last year it was on show at the National Gallery of Wales in Cardiff.

And it is being used as the magnet to encourage people to the gallery to see some of Ipswich Council’s own collection of paintings by Constable, who lived much of his life on the Suffolk/Essex border at East Bergholt.