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During Britain’s long war with France (1793–1815) it was almost impossible to travel to Europe. Consequently, artists and writers focused on the native landscape with a new intensity. Like Constable, Lewis explored the possibility of working directly from nature, outdoors. This is one of a group of pictures of Herefordshire subjects which Lewis described as having been ‘Painted on the Spot’. However, it is clear that he must have reworked the composition. The passage of time has caused changes to the painting, which have revealed traces of a harvester to the right of the main group of figures.

May 2007