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The Ascension

Photo credit: The Constable Trust

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'The Ascension' is the best of only three religious paintings by John Constable, all of which were commissioned for churches in his native Stour Valley. It was commissioned in 1821, the year that he completed 'The Hay Wain', as an altarpiece for St Michael’s Church, Manningtree. The other two earlier works were painted for the parish churches of Brantham in Suffolk and Nayland in Essex. There is debate as to whether the painting represents the Resurrection or the Ascension. One of Constable’s models would have been a sketch of 'The Resurrection' by Benjamin West, who was in turn influenced by Raphael. He would also have seen the window by Sir Joshua Reynolds depicting the Resurrection in Salisbury Cathedral when visiting his great friend John Fisher.

St Mary's Church



The Ascension




oil on canvas


H 160 x W 127 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased, 1999

Work type



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Normally on display at

St Mary's Church

High Street, Dedham, Colchester, Essex CO7 6DE England

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