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The Cornfield is, today, one of Constable’s best-known works. It was also the first of his pictures to enter a public collection. Shortly after his death in 1837, a committee was set up to subscribe towards the purchase of a painting for the nation, and The Cornfield was bought for the National Gallery for 300 guineas. The list of subscribers included the poet William Wordsworth, the scientist Michael Faraday, and several artists.

This print of the subject was published in 1834, and was a great commercial success. However, Constable never found a buyer for the painting during his own lifetime.

September 2004