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In pictures

Apollo Advent Calendar: Day 17

17 December 2013

Apollo is counting down to Christmas by celebrating some of the greatest acquisitions, gifts and bequests of 2013. We’ll take a closer look each day at one of the outstanding objects, works of art or collections shortlisted for the Apollo Awards Acquisition of the Year.

Tate Britain; National Museum Wales; National Galleries of Scotland; Colchester and Ipswich Museums; Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum
Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, 1831
John Constable (1776–1837)
Oil on canvas, 36.5×51.1cm
Secured for the British public by the Aspire partnership of five UK museums, with grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund, the Manton Foundation and Tate Members

‘I am told I got it to look better than anything I have yet done,’ said Constable of this iconic painting, which depicts Salisbury Cathedral under glowering skies. ‘The Great Salisbury’, as Constable called the piece, was first shown at the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition in 1831 and later, at his direction, in Birmingham. The artist’s wish that it be seen by a large audience is honoured by the five UK museums involved in its acquisition: it will tour to each over the next few years.