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John Constable, The Valley Farm,
Then and Now

Flatford, Suffolk

Location Guide

This painting was started in 1833 and exhibited in 1835. It was sold while only partly complete for 300, the most Constable ever got for any of his paintings, in his lifetime.

This image does not do this painting justice, although I have edited it, its still nothing like as good as the original.

There is another painting called 'The Ferry', that is based on this same location I think, but I have so far not managed to find an image for it. If you see a Public Domain copy anywhere please let me know, and I will add it. If you see any image anywhere let me know and I can update this description.

Oil sketch for The Valley Farm

The same view today

The original is one of the reverse images of the The Hay Wain, we see the near bank of the river, the far bank with the opening through to the pool, that is behind the mill next to Willy Lotts house, which is in the painting and today's photographs. Cutting down some of the tress on this side of the towpath and pulling out some weeds is all that is required to recover this scene today.

It is possible that Constable was not on this bank, but on the other side of the river and the channel we see going left to right is the second channel that comes out in the The White Horse, which also features Willy Lotts house, this would account for why the river at this point looks so narrow and is not very deep, cattle being able to walk up it. The Hay Wain appears to have a channel straight through to the river and one around the back of the cottage, what presumably leads to the white horse image position, the angle of the house would line up with the channel seen through to the river. There is a variation in the trees shown in the different views, and although some years have passed between some images it suggests he used artistic licence with the trees, and may have produced a combination image of the scene.

According to the Ordnance Survey map, today the river bank the other side of the river is solid and the only channel runs behind the cottage. However if you look at the aerial photo, this is not as clear cut and it appears that there is the main river channel, the second channel and at least a clear area where the other cut through used to exist.


Location: John Constable, The Valley Farm, nr Flatford, Suffolk

Grid Reference: TM076331 Ceremonial County: Suffolk

Map Link: Multimap - OS

Aerial photo: Multimap   Google

Getting there: See  Flatford Mill cross the bridge tern left, go beyond the lock, and the mill pool, and the path moves away from the river again behind some tress, you want to be in amongst these trees for this view.

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Nearby Locations:
Other Location Pages: Then and Now Locations     John Constable Painting Locations     John Constables Painting Locations Then and Now   Flatford Mill
Other Relevant Pages: Then and Now Photography

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By: Keith Park  Section: Photography Section Key:
Page Ref: Constable_The_Valley_Farm Topic: Comparative Photography  Last Updated: 08/2010

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