When we started on our plans to celebrate 200 years of Constable’s Wivenhoe Park, the one frustration was that the ‘real thing’ was hanging some 3,600 miles away in the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.
Having researched and learnt so much about Constable’s time in the Park, gazing at a print, however beautiful, just wasn’t enough and when my family suggested a trip to the East Coast of the States, a stay in Washington was at the top of the list.
Since Wivenhoe House hotel opened in 2012 we have been in regular contact with experts at the Gallery who have been incredibly supportive of all the work we have done at the hotel to promote the work of this wonderful artist and were delighted to welcome me to the Gallery.
Even before I headed over to the painting, the Gallery was a sight to behold, their collections are beautifully presented and you could easily spent at least one day devouring all the wonderful artwork, but with ‘Wivenhoe Park’ so tantalising close and featuring on all the posters advertising their British collections, I couldn’t wait to see it.
And there it was, sitting proudly in Gallery 57 on the Main Floor of the West Building, next to some wonderful paintings by Turner. Despite the fact I was accompanied by two lovely ladies, Meagan and Gwen from the Gallery, the security guard obviously caught a glint of the passion in my eye and stayed close as I gazed at the painting, attempting to etch on my memory every brushstroke and detail.
I was delighted to tell Meagan and Gwen that the view portrayed in the painting hadn’t changed all that much, except for the growth of the trees over the passage of time. I presented them with a small selection of gifts from Wivenhoe House and the University of Essex and assured them of the same warm welcome if they came to visit us.
The rest of Washington DC proved equally special, from the White House to the Giant Pandas in Washington Zoo. All the main attractions are free so we recommend it as a great place to visit and will definitely be returning, the National Gallery of Art alone is definitely one to head back to.