Students Staff

26 January 2016

Constable bicentenary celebrations at Wivenhoe House

Constable painting

John Constable's painting. Photo credit: National Gallery of Art, Washington

Wivenhoe House hotel in Colchester is loving landscape in 2016 with a series of events for art-lovers everywhere as the four-star hotel celebrates 200 years since artist John Constable painted Wivenhoe Park.

You can sign up now for the Constable Challenge on Sunday 12 June when members of the public of all ages, are invited to set up their easels in the grounds of the Grade II listed hotel on the University of Essex campus.

The hotel, home of the Edge Hotel School, has also launched a competition to commission a professional landscape artist to create a 21st century interpretation of the original painting which will be unveiled at an autumn exhibition at Wivenhoe Park, also featuring selected works from the Constable Challenge day.

In 1816 the then owner of Wivenhoe House, General Francis Rebow, paid Constable 100 guineas to paint his family home and substantial grounds, now home to the University of Essex. It was a labour of love for Constable. The money helped secure his financial future and win the hand of his fiancée Maria Bicknell, whose father was not keen on the marriage.

The painting now hangs in pride of place at the National Gallery of Art, Washington and with the recent £9.1 million sale of Constable’s The Lock as a guideline, it was 100 guineas well spent.

Wivenhoe House General Manager Oliver Brown said: “We hope as many people as possible get involved in our celebrations. This was an important time in Constable’s life and was his last painting before moving to London. You can still walk in Constable’s footsteps within the park and we hope the landscape will inspire artists young and old.”

Amateur artists can also enter The University of Essex’s annual art competition, which closes at the beginning of March. Following the Constable theme, this year the University‘s competition is also focussing on landscape with a top prize of £100 for adults and other prizes including afternoon tea at Wivenhoe House.

Schools and businesses are also invited to apply to contribute to a giant Constable canvas. Divided into 12 segments the canvas will build into a recreation of the original painting.

For more details on all the projects please visit

For further information please contact
Heather Leathley
Wivenhoe House hotel
T: 01206 863666
M: 07791 724736

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