John Constable at Stonehenge
Here is a John Constable oil painting of Stonehenge, completed in 1836—the year before his death. According to information that I gleaned at the Salisbury Museum, Constable only started paining ruins, such as this, after the death of his wife in 1828. When she died, he told a friend, "the face of the World is totally changed to me." Constable (1776-1837) is one of the wonderful artistic discoveries I've made this year in England—a painter with whom I was not previously very familiar, and who is quintessentially English. Ironically, during his lifetime he was more popular in France than in England, but he refused to leave his homeland, telling a friend, "I would rather be a poor man in England than a rich man abroad." Notice in the painting that several of the large stones, or sarsens, have fallen; some of what one sees at Stonehenge today is a modern reconstruction, in which fallen stones have been replaced in their original positions.