One day in August 1831, John Constable wrote to his friend C R Leslie about a painting by Watteau in Dulwich Picture Gallery, ‘which looks as it should be painted in honey – so mellow – so tender – so soft & so delicious’. When artists discuss their predecessors in this way we get a double dose of insight: not only in this case into the work of Watteau but, just as interestingly, into how Constable thought about oil paint – which, evidently, was as a sensuous, almost edible substance.
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'Thirkell was a product of her time and her class. For her there are no sacred cows, barring those that win ribbons at the Barchester Agricultural.'
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