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Brown painted this landscape directly from nature. The setting is the Tenterden estate at Hendon, in north London, looking east at twilight. He worked on the picture regularly from July until October 1855, finishing the details of the foreground in his studio, including the self-portrait of an artist relaxing in the lower left corner. The effect he particularly sought to capture was the way in which the brown hay was made to appear almost pink by contrast with the dense green grass. After it was finished his dealer rejected it on the grounds that he had never seen hay of this colour. Brown later retouched the painting before selling it to his friend and fellow artist William Morris.

August 2004