Stratford Mill (National Gallery, London) was the second of the six monumental paintings of the Stour landscape Constable exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1819 and 1825, a group that includes The Hay Wain (National Gallery, London).
Stratford Mill was a water-powered paper mill (now demolished) on the River Stour near East Bergholt, Suffolk. Constable shows the mill in shadow, while shafts of sunlight play between the trees beside the meandering river. A dying willow leans over the glassy water and we glimpse a distant sunlit farmhouse. A girl watches a boy cast his fishing line into the water.
A selection of John Constable’s art and personal possessions will be on permanent display within a dedicated room at the new National Centre for Gainsborough in Sudbury, opening Spring 2022