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This painting depicts a cottage located in the middle of a typical farm in rural England. It is oil on canvas painting completed in 1817. It features a five bar wooden gate inviting viewers to relish the ripe corn in the fields. The compound is sounded by an unkempt hedge that gives way to a willow forest on the right.
Behind the cottage is another forest while on the far right is a part of the hedge partitioning another cornfield. Astute observers will notice the donkey on the left side of the gate and that the corn of foreground is still green while that in the background is ripe. The scenery was set in the summer probably in July when corn that is exposed to the sunlight ripens early than that which is in the shade.
From an early age Constable had a liking for sketching landscape around Suffolk but it was his encounter with John Thomas Smith that exposed him to professional painting. Constable was one of the prominent British landscape painters in the late 1700s and early 1800s till his demise in 1837. He had an exquisite ability to reproduce landscape in its most picturesque form. His work was heavily influenced by paintings of Jacob van Ruisdael, Thomas Gainsborough and Claude Lorrain. The small frame depicts a cottage in his native village of East Bergholt, Suffolk.
In this painting, Constable used a blend of light colours for the landscape and distinctly dark colours for the sky. The style is consistent with his technique in other works such as Water Meadows near Salisbury and A Country Road with Trees and Figures that feature light colors for the landscape and dark colors for the sky. The painting also bears his penchant for depicting willow trees that appear as imposing figures in most of his paintings. A Cottage in a Cornfield is the property of the National Museum of Wales and can be viewed at its museums in Cardiff and Wales. It is often available during various art exhibitions around the UK.