John Nash served in the army in the World War One. In 1918 he left the army and became an official war artist. The Cornfield was the first painting he made after that, which did not depict the subject of war. In its ordered view of the landscape and geometric treatment of the corn stooks, it prefigures his brother Paul's Equivalents for the Megaliths, also shown in this room. John wrote that he and Paul used to paint for their own pleasure only after six o''clock, when their work as war artists was over for the day. Hence the long shadows cast by the evening sun across the field in the centre of the painting.