John Constable, David Lucas Old Sarum (second plate) published 1833

Artwork details

Artist
John Constable 1776–1837
David Lucas 1802–1881
Date Published 1833
Medium Mezzotint on paper
Dimensions Image: 150 x 224 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased 1985
Reference
T04036
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Display caption

Old Sarum is the site of William the Conqueror’s court, where he ‘confirmed that great event, the establishment of the feudal system’. It had been abandoned in the 13th century.

The site has the romance of a long-abandoned seat of power, but it was notorious in 1830 as the seat of  a ‘rotten borough’, targeted by radicals seeking parliamentary reform. Constable was by then passionately opposed to reform and the print was seen by at least one contemporary as a political protest.

September 2004

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