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Andrew Graham-Dixon explores how John Constable's love for Maria Bicknell inspired his revolutionary appraoch to painting landscapes as a vehicle of self-expression.
His pictures are seen as the embodiment of rural English cosiness, but John Constable's paintings belie a forbidden private passion. He first met Maria Bicknell when he was 24 and she was just 12. Years of family disapproval and on-off courtship ensued before they finally married, but Maria tragically died at just 40. Andrew Graham-Dixon argues that it was his devotion to his love that proved the catalyst for Constable to revolutionise landscape art
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