Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Landscape Management

Watkins, Charles



The viewpoint taken for Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows exhibited 1831 (Tate T13896) obscures the city and emphasises the rural landscape; much of the middle ground consists of trees, shrubs and grassland. This allows us to explore the way Constable painted different types of tree and consider why they were placed in the picture. It also allows us to examine the ways in which trees were managed in the early nineteenth century. Wood remained an important fuel and was of crucial importance for implements, tools and containers, the building of houses, the construction of carts and boats, and many types of manufacture. In the foreground of Constable’s painting, wood is used for protecting the bank of the river, for posts and a bridge; key elements such as the boat and cart and are also constructed from wood. In the distance, encased in stone, hidden oak timbers sustain the spire of the cathedral. The Harnham Water Meadows in the right of picture allow us to consider how such grassland was managed and how it was integrated with local agricultural production and the management of trees.


Watkins, C. (2017). Landscape Management. In Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows exhibited 1831 by John ConstableTate Research

Acceptance Date Nov 8, 2016
Online Publication Date Feb 20, 2017
Publication Date Feb 20, 2017
Deposit Date Dec 3, 2018
Publisher Tate Research
Series Title In focus
Book Title Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows exhibited 1831 by John Constable
ISBN ISBN 978-1-84976-535-0
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Research report published online on the Tate's website.