CONSTABLE, John Charles Philip

1928 - 2002

Born at The Old Vicarage, Sandridge, St Alban's, Hertfordshire, the home of his maternal grandfather Sir George Saltmarsh, on 28 September 1928, great-great grandson of the John Constable [q.v.]. Son of Lt-Col John Hugh Constable, who would joke that he was the only Constable to hold down a proper job, his ancestors all having become painters, and his wife Margaret née Saltmarsh who married on 25 March 1927. John and his younger brother Richard Golding [q.v.] stuck to the family tradition of painting. After Marlborough College, where he was awarded an art scholarship, he was commissioned into the Royal Artillery for his National Service. He then studied at Chelsea School of Art, and for a time shared a studio with Augustus John, paying his rent by keeping the place tidy, however, before completing his course at Chelsea, in the mid-1950s Constable went to Canada where he worked as a lumberjack and builder until he found employment teaching drawing at McGill University in Montreal. When he returned to Britain he was unable to get a grant to rejoin Chelsea, so he took on a series of labouring jobs to support himself while he continued to paint. A skilled figurative painter, his medium was oil, and he painted landscapes, still-life and portraits with sensitivity and vitality. In 1964 he completed his National Diploma and began teaching at Suffolk schools Leiston from 1964, Claydon Modern from 1966, as well as at Ipswich School of Art and at Belstead House Summer School in Ipswwich. He married in 1963, Freda Keable, art historian and journalist. At the time of his sudden death on 6 September 2002 he was still embroiled in a campaign against expansion of navigation on the river Stour. He was survived by his wife and son, also named John Constable (born 1962). He had exhibitions at Halesworth Gallery; Aldeburgh Cinema Gallery and at Gainsborough House, Sudbury and in 1993 at Salander-O'Reilly Gallery, New York. At the time of his death, John Constable was working towards an exhibition of his work at the Chappel Galleries near Colchester, and at the Salander-O'Reilly Gallery in New York. He lived at Great Glemham, Suffolk.