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Constable: The Making of a Master – Major Show for London

John Constable Self Portrait

Self-portrait by John Constable, pencil and black chalk heightened with white and red chalk, by John Constable, c.1799-1804 Image courtesy © National Portrait Gallery, London

A must see show for people in or visiting London is the very special exhibition of painter John Constable’s landmark landscape works. It is on display now at the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum at London until 11th January 2015.

John Constable (1776-1837) and his contemporary rival J.W.M. Turner are very much in the news it seems.

The major film about Mr. Turner, which won best actor category at the Cannes Film Festival 2014 for English actor Timothy Spall will be a Xmas treat and features James Fleet as his rival John Constable

The V & A holds an extensive collection of John Constable’s works, including three easel paintings, 92 oil sketches, 297 drawings and watercolours.

Then there are three sketchbooks, given by his last surviving daughter Isabel to the museum in 1888, an invaluable resource for imagery and information.

Curated by Mark Evans, Constable: The Making of a Master will showcase over 150+ of this much-loved artist’s well known and admired works of art, including oil sketches, drawings, watercolours and engravings.

Evans together with Susan Owens and Stephen Calloway has also produced an accompanying publication.


Installation of Constable: The Making of a Master © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The exhibition will also showcase a previously unknown oil sketch by Constable, discovered in the V & A’s permanent collection.

It had been concealed inside a line canvas, having been painted on the reverse side of his Branch Hill Pond: Hampstead (1821-22).

President of The Royal Academy of Arts at London just prior to Constable’s day Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) once noted that ‘… the purpose of studying masters is to understand the great principles, which the work embodies. Consider the works only as a means of teaching one the art of seeing nature’.

The Royal Academy of Arts was considered the primary art institution and the leading venue for the study and display of art in Great Britain and Europe until at least the beginning of the 20th century and Reynolds’s opinions remained important and influential in Constable’s day.

There will be many whose form and subject will be sure to be recognised, perhaps even personal favourites, that were produced when he was painting en plain air.

This was when he was taking his inspiration from nature directly, endeavouring to capture and record its bold transitory elements of both light and ambiance.

Constable Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop’s Ground, oil on canvas, by John Constable, 1823 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The selection will include some of Constable’s most well known paintings – Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows (1831), The Cornfield (1826) and The Haywain (1821).

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Ottoman Baroque – A Mystic Musical Journey, West to East

Paul-Dyer-1Passion and dedication drove director Paul Dyer AO and Bruce Applebaum forward to found the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra (ABO) 25 years ago.

Over that time, they have explored new ways of presenting the beauty and deep connection that exists between the early music of the Baroque period in Europe, our humanity and spirituality.

Now they are going beyond, taking that experience into a new realm, as they encounter the mystical qualities that exist between humankind, music and the spirit, as well as the separation that exists between west and east.

It’s not just about music as art and the evolution of our culture although all of that is important. It is also about recognising that despite known differences and viewpoints, there is a great deal we can share in common all over the world that should help bring us closer together.

During my lifetime I have only heard about the so-called ‘whirling dervishes’ and as yet have not had the pleasure of experiencing their performance, especially at Istanbul.

Now we can all enjoy an encounter of the first kind without having to travel, because they are visiting Sydney between the 22nd and 31st October 2014.

Whirling Dervishes 1Thanks to director Paul Dyer, the ABO will present a very special program as part of their 25th anniversary celebrations, Ottoman Baroque Brandenburg & the Whirling Dervishes at City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney.

This wonderful evening of very special music will be a highlight of the ABO’s special year on stage, a wonderful shared experience.

The musical journey we will go on together is important in a cultural climate of creativity.

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