Walk C: Stoke-by-Nayland to East Bergholt
The science of rainbows, a woven history, and a long-trodden path.
Stoke-by-Nayland to East Bergholt
We’ll start the longest of the walks near St Mary the Virgin in Stoke by Nayland, on the border of Suffolk and Essex on a hill above Dedham Vale. During the development of the mezzotint of this subject, Constable changed the church’s position, bringing it much closer to the viewer.
We’ll discuss Constable’s text for the plate, in which he devotes much space to analysis of rainbows, in their physical properties and literary associations, and the history of cloth manufacturing (‘bay’ or baize) in Suffolk by Flemish artisans fleeing ‘cruel persecutions of their own Country’.
Walking to East Bergholt we’ll stick as much as possible to footpaths, but at Stratford St Mary, we will have to use roads to safely cross the A12, which cuts across the landscape. On the east side of the village, we’ll be able to rejoin footpaths to East Bergholt, pausing at the site of ‘Autumnal Sunset’ which looks back towards Stratford St Mary, showing the path used by farm workers. East Bergholt’s Vale Farm appears in the dip at the right.
Through the lighten'd air a higher lustre and a clearer calm diffusive tremble.
The Four Seasons: Summer, James Thomson, 1727