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An inscription on the label on the back of this sketch suggests that it was made on a farm owned by William Holman Hunt’s uncle in Ewell in Surrey. It also tells us that it was probably made outdoors on the spot. Painting directly from nature was central to the Pre-Raphaelite mission, and here Holman Hunt has captured the feeling of a seized moment on a hot day in late summer. He has filled the shadows with colour and has carefully cropped the image to balance the dry yellow land with a bright blue sky.

July 2007