Almost 3,000 visitors flocked to Jarrow to view famous artwork

Last week, just under 3,000 people visited John Constable’s The Cornfield, whilst the artwork was displayed in Jarrow’s Viking Shopping Centre.

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The painting, which arrived in Jarrow last week as part of the National Gallery’s bi-annual Visits programme, was displayed in Jarrow’s Viking Centre for five days in partnership with Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums (TWAM).

A total of 2,973 visitors from all around the North East, dropped in to view the famous artwork, completely free of charge, during its visit to South Tyneside.

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John Constable is famous for his landscapes, which are mostly of the Suffolk countryside, where he was born and lived. He made many open-air sketches, using these as a basis for his large exhibition paintings, which were worked up in the studio in central London.

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John Constable’s The CornfieldJohn Constable’s The Cornfield
John Constable’s The Cornfield

His pictures are extremely popular today, but they were not particularly well received in England during his lifetime.

The painting received much praise from the public, including a comment from local resident Luke S: “It is truly wonderful to see such impressive art being toured so more people can appreciate it. Thank you for choosing Jarrow.”

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To complement the painting, the TWAM team had also created an interactive online programme which families, schools and community groups can access.

The programme features items from South Shields Museum & Art Gallery, a poem written by sensory practitioner Julia Collar, which was performed by the Museum’s Assistant Learning Officer Leslie Palanker.

Although the visit is over, visitors are still encouraged to use the online resource which can be found on the museum website. Participants in workshops remarked afterwards on how inclusive they had found the experience and described feeling more confident in themselves and their ability to create art and express themselves.

Keith Merrin, Director of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, said: “It has been fantastic to work with the National Gallery to bring such an important artwork right into the heart of one of our local communities.

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"We hope that those people who visited the shop to see The Cornfield, have left feeling inspired to visit more of our wonderful cultural venues in South Tyneside and the wider North East region.”

Councillor Audrey Huntley, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for

Culture, Leisure and the Visitor Economy, added: “It’s great that the painting’s display in Jarrow has had such wonderful feedback from the community.

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“It offered a rare opportunity for local people to get up close to such an incredible piece of artwork that is usually only available for viewing in the National Gallery.

“South Tyneside has a unique and vibrant cultural offer that showcases our proud history and heritage and celebrates local arts and creative talent. This partnership with Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and the National Gallery supports us to provide new cultural experiences and reach a wider audience with opportunities for all to access the arts.”

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