This view of Malvern Hall in Warwickshire, seen from raised ground across a stretch of water, recalls a long tradition of country house portraiture which goes back to the seventeenth century. Yet it appears to have been painted for Constable’s own interest rather than being a formal, commissioned work. The sun is sinking below the trees to the left, which cast long shadows across the lawn at the back of the house. Above them hovers a flight of rooks. Many years later Constable wrote that the cawing of a rook was a ‘voice which instantaneously placed my youth before me’.