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Stoke-by-Nayland lies on the north side of the Stour Valley, a few miles inland from East Bergholt and Dedham. Its church, with an imposing 15th-century tower, appears frequently in Constable’s drawings around 1810–14. This vigorous outdoor sketch belongs to the period between about 1810 and 1811, when Constable first came to maturity. The bold, agitated handling, with its unusual brushstrokes from left to right in downward sweeps, shows his new confidence with the medium to powerful effect.

February 2016