The 'Suffolk School'
The collection offers important insights into the legacy of Gainsborough and Constable through comparisons with their Suffolk contemporaries and followers. The group of artists who can be included in the ‘Suffolk School’ are Thomas Churchyard , Edward Smythe, Thomas Smythe, Robert Burrows, Fred Brett Russell, John Moore, Henry Bright and John Duval . Duval’s painting of the ‘Suffolk Show in Christchurch Park, 1869’, shown below, was donated to the Service in 1939.
One of Constable’s closest followers in Suffolk was the Woodbridge solicitor and part-time artist Thomas Churchyard (1798-1865). Churchyard collected and copied Constable’s work and also that of Gainsborough (1727-1788), John Crome of Norwich (1768-1821) and George Frost (1745-1821). Free from the restraint of academy conventions, on his frequent sketching trips around the Woodbridge and Melton locality, he produced a huge amount of on-the-spot sketch studies. The collection contains the most comprehensive public collection of oil and watercolour sketches by Thomas Churchyard.
Other Suffolk artists and groups that are represented in the Ipswich collections include artists associated with the village of Walberswick and the Blyth estuary, for example Philip Wilson Steer (1860–1942) and Frederick Brown (1851-1941).
The collections also include works by wider East Anglian artists, for example John Crome (1768-1821), George Vincent (1796-1832), James Stark (1794-1859) and John Sell Cotman (1782-1842).