what form of transport is seen in john constables 1821 painting the hay wain
Flatford Mill was owned by Constable’s father. The house on the left side of the painting belonged to a neighbour, Willy Lott, a tenant farmer, who was said to have been born in the house and never to have left it for more than four days in his lifetime. Willy Lott’s Cottage has survived to this day practically unaltered, but none of the trees in the painting exist today.
The Hay Wain – originally titled Landscape: Noon – is a painting by John Constable, finished in 1821, which depicts a rural scene on the River Stour between the English counties of Suffolk and Essex.   It hangs in the National Gallery in London and is regarded as “Constable’s most famous image”  and one of the greatest and most popular English paintings. 
From 1809, his childhood friendship with Maria Elizabeth Bicknell developed into a deep, mutual love. Their marriage in 1816 when Constable was 40 was opposed by Maria’s grandfather, Dr Rhudde, rector of East Bergholt. He considered the Constables his social inferiors and threatened Maria with disinheritance. Maria’s father, Charles Bicknell, solicitor to King George IV and the Admiralty,  was reluctant to see Maria throw away her inheritance. Maria pointed out to John that a penniless marriage would detract from any chances he had of making a career in painting. Golding and Ann Constable, while approving the match, held out no prospect of supporting the marriage until Constable was financially secure. After they died in quick succession, Constable inherited a fifth share in the family business.
In 1799, Constable persuaded his father to let him pursue a career in art, and Golding granted him a small allowance. Entering the Royal Academy Schools as a probationer, he attended life classes and anatomical dissections, and studied and copied old masters. Among works that particularly inspired him during this period were paintings by Thomas Gainsborough, Claude Lorrain, Peter Paul Rubens, Annibale Carracci and Jacob van Ruisdael. He also read widely among poetry and sermons, and later proved a notably articulate artist.
We know from letters to his family written when he was living in London that Constable knew about these things. He was also sufficiently concerned to share his pessimistic views on the future of the countryside and his family’s privileges with his brothers and mother. This concern was not financial as his families diverse interests prospered in the 19th century. They were much deeper than that – an emotional attachment for a society that only ever existed in his childhood memory.
A dog by the bank is barking at the hay cart, adding to the atmosphere of this idyllic rural scene
No tracks of Heaven’s destructive fire remain,
The fields and woods revive, and Nature smiles again.83
Plan of the City of Salisbury, with the Boundaries of the Borough, as Laid Down by the Reform Act. Surveyed by G.O. Lucas, [Salisbury?] 1833, detail showing Fisherton Mill and Salisbury Cathedral
British Library, London
© British Library Board, Cartographic Items Maps 5730. (1.)
Constable himself did not call this picture The Hay Wain – it was a nickname given to it by his friend Archdeacon Fisher. When it was sent to the Royal Academy in 1821 with its given title ’ Landscape: Noon ‘, it was greeted favourably by reviewers. The Examiner declared that it ’approaches nearer to the actual look of rural nature than any modern landscape whatever‘. However, it did not sell. Constable was probably unaware at the time that two French visitors to England – the artist Géricault and the writer Nodier – had seen his painting in the Royal Academy. According to Delacroix, Géricault returned to France ’quite stunned‘ by Constable’s picture. Nodier suggested that French artists should similarly look to nature rather than relying on journeys to Rome for inspiration (by this he meant emulating the classicising landscapes, painted by artists such as Claude).
The view is of the millpond at Flatford. Flatford Mill was a watermill for the grinding of corn, leased and 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. In The Hay Wain , the mill is out of sight – we just glimpse the edge of its red brick wall on the extreme right. The building on the left of the picture is the house, which also still survives, occupied during Constable’s time by the tenant farmer Willy Lott. Although Constable’s parents moved from the mill house to a residence in East Bergholt before he was born, he would have known this view of Willy Lott’s house extremely well.