John Constable
Chain Pier, Brighton 1826–7

Artwork details

John Constable 1776–1837
Chain Pier, Brighton
Date 1826–7
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 1270 x 1829 mm
frame: 1613 x 2143 x 146 mm
Acquisition Purchased 1950
Not on display

Display caption

Constable first went to Brighton in 1824, taking his wife Maria in an attempt to restore her failing health. He visited her there frequently in the mid-1820s and made many drawings and sketches, but this is his only large painting of a Brighton subject.

The 1820s were some of the busiest years of Brighton’s development as a fashionable seaside resort. Here Constable shows the bustling life of the beach against a backdrop of Brighton’s new hotels, residential quarters and the Chain Pier itself. The pier opened in 1823, shortly before Constable’s first visit, but was destroyed by storm in 1896.

September 2004