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We do not know why, or rather for what purpose, this painting was commissioned. It may have been produced for a landowner anxious to display his wealth, but it displays a greater concern with nature and the English landscape, and the effects of the weather.

However, the figures to the left, pulling the heavily-laden barge along the river Thames, remind us that this is a working countryside, and that waterways were vital for the transportation of food and goods to and from the urban centres.

September 2004