Fire and Water marks the return of John Constable’s Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows to Tate and the end of its national tour through the Aspire programme.
This work was first shown alongside J.M.W. Turner’s Caligula’s Palace and Bridge at the Royal Academy in 1831. The picture Constable believed would come to be recognised as his masterpiece was hung beside the artist he regarded as his only real rival. Sparking controversy among the artists, the exhibition was a field day for the critics, who seized the chance to compare distinctive pictures by leading landscape painters at the height of their powers. Fire and Water reunites these two works and recreates this pivotal moment.