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Some early nineteenth century painters like Lewis largely discarded the pictorial formulas of the older generation. Instead they explored a more naturalistic and experimental approach. The apparent truthfulness of their views contributed to the creation of a kind national identity that was meant to belong to everyone, not just people who owned land.

During war with France, agricultural productivity became a genuinely national issue. In this picture Lewis had given particular attention to the details of agricultural work: the field has been reaped and sheaves of wheat have been gathered and stacked to dry.

August 2004