centres on the villages
(where Constable was born) and Flatford.
the famous painter whose works
include ‘The Haywain’, ‘Flatford Mill from Willy Lott’s
House’, ‘Boat-building near Flatford Mill’, ‘The Bridge’, ‘Flatford
Mill’, ‘The Lock’, ‘A Water Lock’,
‘A View on the Stour’, and ‘The
White Horse’, wrote in October 1821 ‘Painting is but
another word for feeling. I associate my ‘Careless Boyhood’
with all that lies on the banks of the Stour. They made me a
painter, and I am grateful, that is, I had often thought of
pictures of them before I ever touched a pencil’.
R B Beckett commented about John Constable: ‘His earliest
memories were a blend of wide and distant views over the
valley which has for its centre the noble tower of Dedham
Church, of the moving clouds above, of upland woods and
fields running down in gentle declivities, and a winding
stream where small boys would fish in summer from the locks,
under the shade of overhanging trees.
Of all these memories, the one which seems to have left the
deepest impression on his mind was the busy scene round the
Flatford Mill, with the constant procession of barges
stopping to load or unload their cargo’.
The Stour River at
is on the River Stour close to the
Suffolk-Essex border. The Centre buildings, particularly the
Mill and Willy Lott's House, are instantly recognisable
since they feature in many paintings by John Constable. Only
an hour from London and with excellent road and rail access,
the Centre is at the end of a lane which has no through
traffic. It offers visitors of all ages a much sought-after
sense of tranquillity to complement a unique learning
environment. The rich mosaic of lowland landscapes, wildlife
habitats and places of historic interest in this beautiful
part of East Anglia are all reflected in the Centre's
wide-ranging programme of environment and art-based courses.
Over 300 residential and day activities are offered each
year for people of all ages.