When Constable was in charge of hanging the pictures for the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1831, he decided to swap Turner’s paintings and his own in the very last minute — putting his own painting Salisbury Cathedral From The Meadows at the centre stage; sidelining his more established colleague’s Caligula’s Palace together with Vision of Medea.
Turner, who became aware of the decision after the opening of the exhibition, confronted Constable at a dinner party shortly afterwards, and slew him without remorse.
Dr. David Blayney Brown, who has curated the exhibition, told the Telegraph that Constable defended his position and replied to Turner that “I did it all for your sake because it looks better this way.”
And perhaps it does?
On May 26th at Tate Britain, Salisbury Cathedral and Caligula’s Palace were reunited for the first time and viewers will find that little has changed between the rivals. Placed on adjoining walls — Constable’s is facing the entrance, whilst Turner’s appears on the left-hand side.