the haywain john constable
Sold at the exhibition with three other Constables to the dealer John Arrowsmith, The Hay Wain was brought back to England by another dealer, D. T. White; he sold it to a Mr. Young who resided in Ryde on the Isle of Wight. It was there that the painting came to the attention of the collector Henry Vaughan and the painter Charles Robert Leslie.  On the death of his friend Mr. Young, Vaughan bought the painting from the former’s estate; in 1886 he presented it to the National Gallery in London, where it still hangs today.  In his will Vaughan bequeathed the full-scale oil sketch for The Hay Wain, made with a palette knife, to the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum). 
The painting measures 130.2 cm × 185.4 cm ( 51 1 ⁄4 in × 73 in). 
Within art most successful artists try out many different combinations of art mediums and styles within their career as they develop and seek new avenues of inspiration and creativity.
John Constable played a crucial role in the rise of landscape painting as an accepted art form within the mainstream and it’s easy to take his career for granted with so many landscape artists now around.
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‘Painting should be understood. as a pursuit, legitimate, scientific and mechanical’.
The different tones all complement each other and are repeated to add harmony to this piece: the blue of the pool is reflected in the sky and the red of the house is highlighted subtly in the trees and in the harness of the horse.
Although Constable is famous for being one of the first landscape painters to create canvases purely based on nature, he did not paint The Hay Wain on site. Instead he created several sketches in the summer of 1821 and produced the finished oil version in his London studio in the winter of the same year.
The view is of the millpond at Flatford on the River Stour. Flatford Mill was a watermill for grinding corn, operated by the Constable family for nearly a hundred years. It still survives and is about a mile from Constable’s birthplace at East Bergholt, Suffolk. The house on the left also survives; in Constable’s time it was occupied by tenant farmer Willy Lott.
Although the painting evokes a Suffolk scene, it was created in the artist’s studio in London. Over the years, Constable had made many drawings and oil sketches of Willy Lott’s farmhouse; its red roofs and chimneys, whitewashed walls and brick buttresses appear in several of Constable’s Stour scenes. His earliest oil study of it was probably painted in 1802. When painting The Hay Wain , Constable referred back particularly to three small oil sketches of the house he had made in 1811. The woman stooping over the water from the step outside Lott’s house with a pitcher beside her was retained in the same pose and position in the final picture. Constable made a small preliminary oil sketch showing the hay wagon itself in about 1820 (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven). This was followed by a full-scale oil sketch to develop the composition (Victoria and Albert Museum, London), which Constable painted quickly with large areas of the brown ground of the canvas left bare. The horse and rider in the foreground of the oil sketch were kept in the final picture but painted out at a late stage.