The Constable Trust was founded in 1999 to ‘acquire, preserve, protect and display, for the benefit of the public, works of art having a relationship with East Anglia’. Its first act was to buy this painting, which was offered for sale in 1998 by the Parochial Church Council of All Saints, Feering.
The Ascension was commissioned for £200 by Edward Alston, a brewer from Manningtree, and Constable’s cousin by marriage, because he wanted to gain favour with the Archdeacon of Colchester, the Reverend John Jefferson, who was responsible for licensing public houses. When Jefferson refused to license Alston’s hostelries and subsequently died in December, 1821, Alston reneged on the contract. In spite of the financial loss this entailed, Constable completed the painting and it was installed in 1822 in the reredos of the newly built chancel of St Michael’s Church, Manningtree, where it remained until the building was demolished in 1965. The painting was subsequently acquired by the Reverend Aubrey Moody for All Saints Church at Feering, a village which Constable knew through his friendship with an earlier incumbent, the Reverend Walter Wren Driffield.
Michael Archer, Chairman of the Trustees
Text source: PCF / The Constable Trust
This description was originally written for a catalogue.
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