Tate acquires “Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows”: The Church of England Newspaper, June 2, 2013, p 5. June 12, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: John Constable, Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, Tate Gallery
The Bishop of Salisbury has applauded the purchase of John Constable’s Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows 1831 by the Tate Gallery, preventing one of the masterpieces of 19th century British art from being sold to an overseas collector.
The work had been on loan to the National Gallery of Art since 1983, but the museum was unable to raise funds for the picture when the owners, the heirs of Lord Ashton of Hyde, placed it on the market for sale.
At a press conference last week Tate director Nicholas Serota said that the family had made a “very generous offer” to the museum and had sold the painting for £23.1m, far below its appraised value of £40m. Funding for the transaction was provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund (£15.8 million), the Art Fund (£1 million), The Manton Foundation and Tate members.
Bishop Nicholas Holtam said he was “delighted” the painting had been “saved for the nation and that the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum is one of five where it will be displayed.”
He noted that: “When they visited Salisbury John Constable and his wife, Maria, stayed in the home of their friend Bishop John Fisher. That is why there are a number of paintings by Constable of the Cathedral. This painting is perhaps the greatest of them and is one of the nation’s favourite paintings. In it the Cathedral’s spire rises with soaring hope above dark storm clouds and the rainbow over the Cathedral speaks of God’s covenant with all the earth. It still speaks strongly of the purpose and hope of our Cathedral. I very much look forward to the painting being displayed here in the Cathedral Close in 2016.”
The painting will go on display in the Constable room at Tate Britain until the end of the year and then will travel to Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum Wales, the National Galleries of Scotland, Colchester and Ipswich Museums and the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum.
The oil on canvas painting depicts Salisbury Cathedral under both a heavy cloud and a striking arched rainbow from across the River Avon. The work was made following the death of his wife in 1828 when Constable turned to the church for solace. The scene also serves as a metaphor for pressure felt by the Church of England from the rise of Catholicism. The painting was first exhibited at the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition in 1831 and later in regional exhibitions in Worcester and Birmingham as directed by Constable who wanted the work to be seen by as many people as possible.