East Anglia is well known for attracting painters – with its famous ‘big’ skies, rural landscapes and beautiful coastal areas. Some of the more famous are listed here.
- Sir John Arnesby Brown painter
- John Constable, the famous landscape painter, was born in East Bergholt, 11 June 1776, the son of Golding Constable, who owned mills at Flatford and Dedham and also ran a barge transport business. He is known for drawing landscapes of the Dedham Vale; The Hay Wain (1821) depicts the Stour Valley between Suffolk and Essex.
- Thomas Gainsborough was astonishingly successful in his time, as both a portrait and a landscape painter. He was born in Sudbury on 14 May 1727. and was a founding member of the Royal Academy (1769). A famous painting is Mr And Mrs Andrews. He died in 1788.
- Carl Giles – better known as just Giles – lived in Badger’s Cottage, Tuddenham, and worked in Ipswich for much of his adult life. He produced the much-loved cartoons for the Daily Express.
- Sir Alfred Munnings (1878–1959) was the leading equestrian artist of his day, and his works were collected by the Royal Family and high society. He was born in Mendham in 1878; he lost one eye at the age of 20 but still continued to paint and became president of The Royal Academy of Art in 1944. The 2013 film, A Summer in February, is a romance about the love triangle between Sir Alfred Munnings, Gilbert Evans and Florence Carter-Wood.
- Edward Seago painter
- JMW Turner visited Suffolk, especially the coastal areas, on a number of occasions. Works range from paintings of coastal scens at Aldeborough and Lowestoft to Sketches of the Suffolk Coast: Orford, Aldeburgh and Southwold 1822, where the sketches were often less than a centimeter high and simple geometric shapes such as a square and a triangle are used to depict landmarks along the coastline.
- Philip Wilson Steer (1860–1942) was an avant-guard impressionist painter. He often visited friends at Walberswick. The Tate calls the paintings he did on Walberswick beach ‘among the most authentically impressionist works produced in Britain’.
His 1889 The Beach at Walberswick inspired Orford-born Maggie Hemingway to write The Bridge, a novel that was adapted into the 1992 film of the same name starring Saskia Reeves.