Like Fen Lane, which hangs to the right, this study is thought to be one of the works Constable began outdoors in Suffolk in 1817, but did not finish. It too shows Fen Lane, but from further down.
When Constable was looking for a subject to work up for the 1826 Royal Academy exhibition, he turned to this canvas and from it painted the picture now known as The Cornfield (now in the National Gallery). It was probably while preparing the finished picture that he lowered the trees at the right of this earlier sketch by overpainting them with sky.
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John Constable (256)