Comparing John Constable's Painting The Cornfield and William Wordsworth's Poem Tintern Abbey

1608 Words7 Pages
Representations of Time: Wordsworth and Constable

I do not know how without being culpably particular I can give my Reader a more exact notion of the style in which I wished these poems to be written, than by informing him that I have at all times endeavored to look steadily at my subject; consequently, I hope that there is in these Poems little falsehood of description, and my ideas are expressed in language fitted to their respective importance. Something I must have gained by this practice, as it is friendly to one property of all good poetry, namely, good sense; but it has necessarily cut me off from a large portion of phrases and figures of speech which from father to son have long been regarded as the common inheritance of
…show more content…
While the men had no significant personal relationship, they were certainly aware of each other's work. In fact, Constable thought very highly of Wordsworth's poetry. As to whether that sentiment was reciprocated… It is known that Wordsworth attended at least one of Constable's lectures on landscape painting in 1836, however, there are no recorded comments by Wordsworth regarding Constable until after the painter's death in 1837. You'll notice in the comments under the copy of The Cornfield that I've passed around that Wordsworth was a subscriber to the fund that bought the painting for the National Gallery. He contributed one guinea. Other than this, there is little record of Wordsworth's feelings towards Constable and his art. The records that we do have reflect both admiration and disdain: Wordsworth called Constable both an "admiral artist" and a "genius," but also commented (via Joseph Farington) on an 1807 Royal Academy exhibition of Constable's art that it was "a poor exhibition."

The Cornfield (remote)

On the other hand, Constable valued Wordsworth's poetry, calling the descriptions of landscape in The Excursion "beautiful." In the 1830s he twice connected Wordsworth's poetry to his own pictures, and in 1835 he wrote a sonnet that

    More about Comparing John Constable's Painting The Cornfield and William Wordsworth's Poem Tintern Abbey

      Get Access