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The Vale of Dedham 1828


Constable's dramatic landscape leads your eye across the Suffolk countryside, along the winding River Stour, to Dedham village and the estuary beyond. This view from Gun Hill looking towards Dedham church, near his father's watermill, was a favourite subject and also features in a smaller painting of 1802 (Victoria and Albert Museum). The composition, with prominent foreground trees, was partially inspired by Claude's 'Hagar and the Angel' (National Gallery, London). The cloudy sky and details are, however, based on Constable's close observation of nature. He applied paint thickly with touches of white to enhance the effect of shimmering light. This painting prompted his election to the Royal Academy in 1829.

Glossary Open


The arrangement of different elements in a work of art.

Royal Academy

An independent institution founded in 1768 with Sir Joshua Reynolds as its first president. It is governed by the Royal Academicians - leading painters, sculptors, printmakers and architects, which number no more than 80 at one time. It organises exhibitions at its London galleries, including an annual Summer Exhibition.

Composition, Royal Academy


  • Acc. No. NG 2016
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 144.50 x 122.00 cm (framed: 184.80 x 163.20 x 14.00 cm)
  • Credit Purchased with the aid of The Cowan Smith Bequest and the Art Fund 1944