Dedham Lock and Mill (c. 1820) by John Constable

Dedham Lock and Mill - John Constable - 1818

Artwork Information

TitleDedham Lock and Mill
ArtistJohn Constable
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions21 1/2 x 30 1/2 in (54.6 x 77.5 cm)
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationThe Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, NH

About Dedham Lock and Mill

“Dedham Lock and Mill” is an eloquent landscape painting from 1818 by the renowned Romanticist John Constable. Executed in oil on canvas, the artwork measures 21 1/2 by 30 1/2 inches (54.6 x 77.5 cm) and currently resides at The Currier Gallery of Art in Manchester, NH. As a testament to the Romanticism art movement, this piece captures the tranquility and timeless beauty of the English countryside.

The artwork showcases a serene vista featuring Dedham Lock and mill in Suffolk, a frequent subject of Constable’s paintings. In the foreground, the River Stour reflects the sky and surrounding greenery, while a wooden lock gate stands partially open, suggesting the quiet motion of water. The mill itself is depicted to the left, with its recognizable structure huddled against a backdrop of buildings beneath a spacious sky. To the right, a grand tree dominates, detailed with a meticulous rendering of foliage, emphasizing the Romantic era’s preoccupation with the natural world. In the distance, the steeple of Dedham church punctuates the horizon, contributing to the sense of depth and harmony between civilization and nature.

Constable’s skillful use of light and clouds confers drama and movement to the expanse of sky, a feature that became characteristic of his work. Hints of human presence—a figure near the lock and cattle grazing in the fields—add life to the scene without disrupting its peaceful essence. The artist’s reverence for the natural landscape is palpable, capturing a moment suspended in time, rich with atmospheric effects and the sublime beauty of the Suffolk countryside.

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