The Economist praises Martin Gayford’s work on Constable with a reminder that Constable was a creature of his times waiting patiently for the opportunity to get on with his life:
Such was the fate of Constable—handsome, possessed of a mind, as he said, “of the most excruciating sensibility”—and pretty Maria Bicknell, who waited seven years before they could marry in 1816. Her father was a London solicitor; his a prosperous corn merchant in the Suffolk village of East Bergholt, where Maria’s rich grandfather was rector. All of them took a dim view of painting as a profession.
Constable found little encouragement from his fellows either. Landscape painting ranked low in the hierarchy of genres, especially Constable’s kind: fields, mills, towpaths—mere “map-work”, scoffed J.H. Fuseli, professor at the Royal Academy. Besides, many thought Constable’s execution crude. His loose, free brushwork impressed the French, notably Eugène Delacroix, but the English wanted more finish. Maria, who bore him seven children, died of tuberculosis before he was elected to the Royal Academy in 1829.
Finding Nothing Ugly (Economist)
Constable in Love (Amazon.co.uk)