Famous Artists

John Constable, JMW Turner, Barbara Townsend, Lawrence Whistler and Rex Whistler

John Constable came to Salisbury in 1811. He was to be a regular visitor. Initially he came as a guest of Bishop and Lady Fisher. They lived in the Bishop’s Palace which currently is where the Cathedral School resides. It was through Bishop Fisher that a great friendship developed with the Bishop’s nephew, the Rev John Fisher. Constable produced over 300 pieces of artwork of Salisbury. Many of these are well-known and exhibited. It is possible to see the sites from where he painted and look upon the scenes that he recorded on paper.

J. M. W Turner was a contemporary of Constable. His painting style was very different. There are a number of his paintings in Salisbury Museum. They include Stonehenge, Old Sarum, and several of different parts of the cathedral.

Barabara Townsend was a water colourist who lived all her life in the beautiful Mompesson House in the Close. Her works are many and several can be viewed in the house where she lived for all her 97 years.

The Whistler Brothers were exceptionally talented. Rex was so diverse in what he produced that it is difficult to summarise his talent. Having stated that, here goes! He began drawing when he was very young and the collection of his many portable works are often displayed, more recently in Mottisfont, where one of his Murals, a Trompe l’oiel, can be seen. He also worked on stage design, costume design, portrait paintings, poster design, house murals, illustrations and landscapes. His talent was immense and his death in 1940 was a huge loss to our nation.

His brother Lawrence was also gifted, as a poet, artist and glass engraver. His work can be seen in Salisbury Cathedral. The stunning prism in the Morning Chapel is a memorial to his brother Rex. There are also engraved windows to be see in many churches and chapels. The church in Moreton, Dorset, is one such church where all of the windows have been engraved. There are also engraved goblets, bowls and panels. Sir Lawrence Whistler CBE died in 2000

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