A lane near Flatford (Fen Lane)
The figure of the drinking boy in this sketch appears again in ‘The Cornfield’ 1826 and based on a view towards the Stour from Fen Lane, the track that runs down to the river from Flatford Lane and the route Constable would have walked each day as a boy to the Grammar School in Dedham.
Its animated brushwork suggests movement of the scudding clouds and the trees bristling in the wind which successfully conveys the impression of a breezy summer’s day, whilst by the use of natural tones and vibrant greens to match the colours he saw in the countryside he was able to capture the depth in a way that had not been seen before.
Painted around the time that Constable exhibited his first oil painting at the British Institute (A Church Porch 1811), his art was already far more focused and his sketching either a direct study or made in preparation for a future painting.
Henry Vaughan, probably by 1875 when etched by Chattock;1 bequeathed by Vaughan to the National Gallery 1900; transferred to the Tate Gallery 1951.