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This view of the church in Constable’s native village of East Bergholt was one of the first works he exhibited. The stillness of a summer’s afternoon is broken only by the voice of an old man, talking to a woman and a girl sitting on one of the tombs.

The inclusion of people from three generations acts as a reminder of the passage of time and of human mortality, whilst the church offers hope of salvation. Pensive figures in churchyards would have reminded contemporaries of Thomas Gray's famous poem, Elegy written in a Country Churchyard 1751.

February 2004