Just one look at “Constable’s Great Landscapes: The Six-Foot Paintings,” on exhibit at the National Gallery of Art from October 1 through December 31, begs the question: Do any of these places still exist?
The answer is yes. Some of Constable Country—as the area between Colchester and Ipswich in the east of England is known—remains as idyllic and quintessentially English as it was when John Constable (1776–1837), one of England’s best-known and most beloved painters, captured its scenic charm in sketches and oils. Flatford Mill on the River Stour, Willy Lott’s house, thatched cottages, blue skies (some of the time), and tranquil, lowland landscapes are still there. And visiting the area is very easy to do.
Getting to Constable Country, approximately 60 miles northeast of London, takes just under an hour. Trains run frequently from London’s Liverpool Station to Manningtree Station—the point of departure whether you proceed from the railway station on foot, bicycle, or bus.
For a downloadable map of the area and descriptions of places worth seeing in Constable Country, go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk and www.field-studies-council.org/flatfordmill.
For walks, www.pocketpathways.co.uk/constablecountrywalks.
For train schedules and rates, www.britishrail.com/timetable_tickets.html.
For general questions about traveling in England (weather forecasts, for example), see www.visitbritain.com.