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Page last updated at 15:05 GMT, Thursday, 16 September 2010 16:05 UK
50 Constables to return to Salisbury
View of Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop's Grounds, by John Constable
View of Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop's Grounds, by John Constable

The largest exhibition of John Constable work, ever exhibited in Wiltshire, is heading to Salisbury next summer.

To mark the 200th anniversary of the artist's first visit to the city, the Salisbury and Wiltshire museum is hosting a multi-million pound exhibition of his paintings of Salisbury Cathedral, the city and Stonehenge.

Andrew Green, Director of the Salisbury Museum said: "There have been Constable exhibitions in Salisbury before but never on this scale.

"We're hoping for 40 to 50 works from both private and national collections. So it will be a unique opportunity to see the Constable landscapes not normally on public display."

Salisbury Cathedral
Salisbury Cathedral as it looks today

Constable made his first visit to the Cathedral city in 1811 to visit close friend, and then Bishop of Salisbury, John Fisher.

In subsequent visits, the city's cathedral and surrounding landscape were to inspire some of his greatest works.

"It's not really recognised," says Mr Green, "the place he most preferred after Suffolk, which was where he was born, was Salisbury. He did more work in Salisbury then anywhere else.

"So this will be a unique opportunity to see his work and then literally walk into the canvas."

The three month long Constable and Salisbury exhibition will include both early sketches as well as grand "six footers" such as 'Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows' painted late in 1831.

"It's on-loan to the National gallery by a private lender," says Mr Green. "We had to have someone from the National gallery come down to check that we could actually get it into the museum.

"We've also been inspected to ensure that we're secure enough to host a National gallery tour."

With Salisbury Museum located in the Cathedral Close, where Constable stayed and painted, visitors will be able to see the pictures and then explore the landscape that inspired him.

Further information about the exhibition will be posted on the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum website.

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