We Knew No Fear of the Winter
Sitting in the V & A Print Room studying some of Constables’ drawings I came across a familiar picture; ‘View at East Bergholt over the kitchen garden of Golding Constable’s House’ c 1812-16. Made from the upstairs, eastward-facing windows at the back of the family house, the foreground consists of the flower garden and the adjacent kitchen garden with the distant horizon stretching out over fields and lanes as far as the eye can see. There are birds in the sky, cows taking shelter from the sun and workers busy in the garden. The gardens, and the landscape beyond, were places of familiarity for Constable, imbued as they were with memories, family history and ‘melancholy pleasure’.
The landscape has long been associated with both our national and personal identity. It is shaped by us and shapes us. It roots us in a sense of who we are, where we are and where we have come from. Its depiction in art too, forms part of our national and cultural identity. We Knew No Fear of the Winter explores both traditions. Gardens and allotments, tended and cultivated over time define and sustain a sense of self- identity borne as they are from personal needs and experiences. While some allude to a form of permanence and others an ephemeral presence, all are fostered through human toil. Physical endeavors which are reflected in the making of the work.