Journey around Essex and be inspired by the richness of our artistic talent

‘I love every stile, and stump, and lane… as long as I am able to hold a brush I shall never cease to paint them’ - John Constable

The beautiful landscape of Constable Country in North Essex captivates thousands of visitors each year and it is easy to see why John Constable was inspired to paint some of England’s best loved pictures. Ramble along the River Stour in the heart of Constable Country, where he worked his rustic idylls beneath the vast East Anglian skies, and it’s easy to see why generations of artists since have been inspired in much the same way.

‘I love every stile, and stump, and lane… as long as I am able to hold a brush I shall never cease to paint them’ - John Constable

Ramble along the River Stour in the heart of Constable Country, where he worked his rustic idylls beneath the vast East Anglian skies, and it’s easy to see why generations of artists since have been inspired in much the same way.

Black and white picture of Constable.
Constable exhibition at Bridge Cottage in Flatford.

Essex - a painter’s paradise

Rural scene across the River Stour looking at Dedham village and the church.

Painting by John Constable

A man standing in front of a Alfred Munnings painting of a young woman holding a horse.

Painting by Sir Alfred Munnings

Picture of a market scene at Saffron Walden.
Painting by Edward Bawden
Colourful painting of a poppy field.

Painting by Julia Tanner

Painting of a fisherman's boat with fishermen working on it.

Painting by Trevor Show

Colourful abstract painting.

Painting by Susan Allen

Painting of colourful boats.

Painting by Simon Feather

A journey in search of Essex artists will take you around much of the county. Like Constable, Sir Alfred Munnings was a prolific painter. He painted with great vigour and his works are full of life, colour and movement capturing his much loved equestrian world. His home, Castle House in Dedham, has a superb collection which you can visit, you can even stroll around his studio and relax in The Garden Café.

From the 1930s through to the 1950s, Essex was home to a famous colony of artists who lived in and around the village of Great Bardfield. Best known of them was Edward Bawden for his copper engravings of the swirling countryside. The artistic tradition continues today with galleries throughout the county honouring well-known names alongside fresh home-grown talent and a growing list of art trails in hotspots like Leigh-on-Sea and Burnham-on-Crouch allowing a fascinating insight into the creative process at work. As our art heritage has diversified, so too have the ways in which art is displayed, with historic structures like Naze Tower and Jaywick’s Martello Tower put to new use as innovative artistic spaces, and Britain’s oldest recorded town, Colchester, becoming home to its newest and most sensational arts venue, the golden-clad firstsite.

A journey in search of Essex artists will take you around much of the county. Like Constable, Sir Alfred Munnings was a prolific painter. He painted with great vigour and his works are full of life, colour and movement capturing his much loved equestrian world. His home, Castle House in Dedham, has a superb collection which you can visit, you can even stroll around his studio and relax in The Garden Café.

Listening Benches

A fantastic project co-ordinated by Essex Record Office and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund "You are Hear - Sound and a Sense of Place". Historic recordings relevant to each location have been digitised and catalogued in the Essex Record Office archive, and then shared with the public at the press of a button on each bench!

Currently in Colchester, Great Waltham, Great Dunmow, Kelvedon and Saffron Walden, with two touring benches currently at Stansted Airport and Belhus Woods Country Park. Others will be unveiled throughout the remaining part of 2016 and during 2017.

Pictures of the benches and clips of all the recordings can be found here.

Image of a Listening Bench

Artistic Inspirations

Image of Firstsite Gallery
Essex’s creative spaces come in all shapes and sizes and are crammed with artistic treasures, from international names to emerging local artists.
Image of a sculpture on the River Stort
Walking around the centre of Harlow, officially designated as ‘Sculpture Town’, is like walking through an open air art museum. See sculptures by Auguste Rodin, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and many more.
Essex Summer of Art and ENAS logo
The Essex Summer of Art and ENAS events, the largest visual arts festival in Essex, gives you exciting opportunities to visit art trails, artist studios, workshops and showcase events.

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