Stoke-by-Nayland lies on the north side of the River Stour a few miles from East Bergholt and Dedham. Situated on a high ground the tower of Stoke-by-Nayland Church can be viewed on the skyline from some distance away.
Constable made about twenty drawings and oil sketches of Stoke-by- Nayland. In this bold sketch he worked freely, making broad strokes with a full wet brush – to work out his compositional ideas and the arrangement of light and dark masses.
This drawing may have been one of a number of works that Lucas used as a basis for the mezzotint,Stoke by Neyland .Constable introduced the double rainbow over the church tower in this sketch, although Lucas included only a single rainbow in the published mezzotint.
His use of sepia wash in this work and in View on the Stour, Dedham Church in the distance c.1832–36 reflects Constable’s interest in the work of other artists such as Claude Lorrain, and in the blottesque technique of Alexander Cozens.