Under Suffolk’s Skies…

Well known for its ‘wide skies’, Suffolk is a county beloved of artists both past and present, who appreciate the light, the openness and the dramatic cloudscapes so often seen here. John Constable (1776 – 1837) was born in East Bergholt and later lived in Flatford, the heart of ‘Constable Country’. He painted many of his most well-known paintings here and was fascinated by the science of cloud formation.  He strove to paint them accurately and thought that it was the sky and the clouds which best expressed the mood of a landscape: “It would be difficult to name a class of landscape in which the sky is not a key note” he said, “the standard of scale and the chief organ of sentiment”. Look closely at The Hay Wain (1821) next time you come across a print of it, and note the dramatic cloud formation and the way it impacts the mood of the painting. It’s not only artists who find Suffolk skies so beguiling. Visitors to the county often remark on the wide skies over the gentle landscapes of the Dedham Vale and the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB); the Stour Valley and other scenic spots, of which there are many. There are plenty of rural areas in the county, which, because of minimal light pollution, offer night skies which are both dramatic and romantic in equal measure. There is something mesmerising about gazing up at a clear night sky and being able to pick out constellations and nebulae with the naked eye; looking deep into the heart of the universe. These are moments to be cherished and held as memories of time well-spent. Time away from our everyday lives and worries, and they are an opportunity to wonder about our place in the world; on this planet, on the little blue dot we call home. AoChurch and Pilgrims Way 700 opt

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