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The Hay Wain

Biography

As well as telling the story of how Constable created "The Hay Wain" in his studio, we examine the history of landscape painting both before and after the English master

The Hay Wain: the Basics

Painted in 1821, "The Hay Wain" is one of John Constable's best-known works. It depicts a horse-drawn cart standing in a stream in front of a white cottage in rural Suffolk, a timeless image of an English pastoral idyll, rendered in the dappled summery light for which the artist became famous.

The Hay Wain: the Basics
Landscape Painting before Constable

Landscape Painting before Constable

Landscape painting began to develop as a genre in its own right during the early 16th century. Before then it had occupied a place literally in the background of classical art, forming the decorative backdrop to portraits of notable figures or scenes from the Bible or mythology.

Creating The Hay Wain

"The Hay Wain" by John Constable is probably one of the most famous of all English paintings but few people know the story behind it.

Creating The Hay Wain
Landscape Painting after Constable

Landscape Painting after Constable

While he remains famous for the paintings executed in the period immediately before and after "The Hay Wain", we should not think of Constable’s style as remaining unaltered by the passage of time. Stylistic developments in landscape painting, together with his own changing artistic sensibilities, made quite a difference to the work he produced in the late 1820s and 1830s.