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John Constable (1776-1837), the revolutionary 19th-century painter of the landscapes and skies of southern England, is Britain's best-loved but perhaps least understood artist. The major Constable exhibitions held since 2000 in London, Paris, New York and Washington attracted unprecedented numbers of visitors and wide press coverage. Constable's Hay-Wain, one of the top five 'must-see' paintings in the National Gallery, is rivalled only by Gainsborough's Morning Walk and Turner's Fighting Temeraire as the painting that speaks for the achievements of 18th and 19th century British art. As biographer of Gainsborough and Turner, James Hamilton's special insights give a unique perspective to Constable, and set him in his proper context as a giant of European art.