#christchurchmansion #ipswich #suffolk #johnconstable
After arranging to visit Ipswich to see friends and family, three years ago, we finally managed it last week. My father's family are from there and we still have relatives around the area, so a visit was arranged. Also, on a holiday a few years ago, we made friends with a lovely couple who lived in the area.
The husband was Ipswich born but his wife was from Salford. This gave us a common ground to start a conversation, during the holiday and our friendship grew.
Whilst staying with these friends, one place we visited was Christchurch Mansion.
Christchurch Mansion is a substantial Tudor brick mansion house built in Ipswich, Suffolk by Edmund Withipoll around 1548–50. The Grade I listed building is located within Christchurch Park and sits by the southern gates close to the town centre of Ipswich.
We started by having a quick look at the Constable exhibition, which was an added bonus to the visit, before having an excellent short tour of the house.(The way I like them!) The guide was super and he gave us a brief history of the house, before leaving us to explore the rooms on our own. Several traditional historical portraits were on show, although our personal favourite was one by an artist showing the bus passengers. The artist is sitting in the front row, his wife in the middle from when he first met her and his wife now sitting on the back row.
Eventually, we returned to the Constable exhibition for a longer appraisal of the paintings on show.
The dark walls helped the paintings to stand out and it was interesting to read the stories behind them. His sketches helped us to understand his working method and there were several of the painting the landscape you associate with him. Many were of the local area as he was born in Suffolk.
The one that surprised me most was the large figurative painting as I had never seen this aspect of his work before.
There were other paintings by his fellow artists in the area including Gainsborough, who I hadn't realised was born in Sudbury, Suffolk.
The final interesting set of paintings showed how art had changed over the years with three paintings from different eras, all of Willy Lott's House.
The top one is by John Constable dated 1816.
The middle one is by Thomas Churchyard dated 1860
The bottom one is by Simon Carter dated 2013,
The top two are in oils the bottom one in acrylic, again showing different working methods.
It's interesting to see how styles changed slowly at first before the final one done in very broad brushwork.
Which style you like is a personal choice!
This was an interesting concept and one I think galleries could investigate further to show how interpretations of local scenes have changed over the years.
After a walk around the grounds, that were showing the effect of the local drought, which was a shame as all the plants were suffering, we then visited the nearby Museum where a superb timeline showing the development of the town was on show, before returning to our friends house, to recover from the heat.