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  • Dedham Vale with the River Stour in flood from the grounds of Old Hall, East Bergholt, John Constable, private collection

    Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

  • Willy Lott's Cottage, Flatford Mill

  • John Constable's paintbox, on display at Gainsborough's House

    © Isabel Sudbury

  • Portraits of Gainsborough's daughters and nephew on display at Gainsborough's House

    © Isabel Sudbury

  • Mrs Mary Cobbold and Miss Cobbold with a Lamb and Ewe, Thomas Gainsborough, c. 1752

    On display in Gainsborough's House © Isabel Sudbury

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Tour Director

  • Visit Constable's birthplace, East Bergholt, site of his first studio

  • Explore Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury, following an award-winning major redevelopment transforming the site into a new National Centre for Gainsborough

  • Visit Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich, home to the finest collection of Constable’s paintings outside London

"A delightful short tour visiting places in Suffolk that Constable and Gainsborough would have known. Many of these were very little changed, and the surrounding countryside was also recognisable from the paintings. This gave us a real insight into early English landscape painting"

– ACE customer on a previous Constable & Gainsborough in Suffolk tour

It was only with the rising popularity of Impressionism that John Constable (1776–1837) won whole-hearted recognition in his native country. Now ranked alongside JMW Turner as one of England’s greatest painters, Constable created some of the best-known images in British art. This tour will study the influence of the Suffolk countryside on Constable and his near contemporary Gainsborough, one of the founders of the British landscape tradition.


“I fancy I see Gainsborough in every hedge and hollow tree,” said Constable of the Suffolk countryside. As we wander along the banks of the River Stour, where Constable spent his “careless boyhood”, we will discover that Flatford Mill, Dedham Lock and Willy Lott’s cottage – immortalised in The Hay Wain – have changed little over two centuries. We will stroll through the country lanes of East Bergholt, where the artist’s first studio was located, and view his Ascension in Dedham’s parish church.


Slightly further afield, we will visit Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich to see artworks including Willy Lott’s Cottage and the intimate companion pieces Golding Constable’s Vegetable Garden and Golding Constable’s Flower Garden.


Complementing the focus on Constable’s life and influences, our tour will also examine Gainsborough’s roots in his native Suffolk on a visit to the market town of Sudbury. Here, a major redevelopment and refurbishment has recently transformed the artist’s former house into a National Centre for Gainsborough, winning the prestigious RIBA East Building of the Year Award in 2024. The house offers insights into the artist’s life and legacy, and we will enjoy a curator-led guided tour there, as well as a historical walking tour of the town.


Our base for this tour will be the beautiful four-star Hintlesham Hall Hotel, a comfortable and traditionally decorated hotel occupying a 16th century Grade I listed manor house, set in 175 acres of Suffolk countryside. The hall has historical links to Gainsborough, as it was purchased in 1747 by Sir Richard Lloyd, one of the artist’s early patrons, making it a fitting base for our tour.


This tour will be led by Sarah Burles, MA. Sarah studied History of Art at Cambridge before gaining a Masters at University College London and going onto a career in museum and gallery education, including 12 years at the Fitzwilliam Museum. Sarah is an accredited lecturer for the Arts Society and has a particular passion and enthusiasm for making art and museum collections accessible.

Tour Code

Included: accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, three breakfasts, one lunch, three dinners with water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.

Not Included: travel insurance, double room for single use supplement £225.

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