Lucas started this mezzotint in 1829 (Shirley 1930, p. 161), as one of the earliest plates intended for English Landscape. The mezzotint, however, was not published during Constable’s lifetime.
Working under Constable’s close supervision Lucas sought to capture the artist’s expressive handing of paint. In a letter of 26 February 1830 Constable praised him for making ‘the upright windmill quite perfect’ (Shirley 1930, p. 25); and Lucas signed a proof ‘the first Imp[ression] I printed myself, Paddington March 1830’ (ibid., p. 24). Nevertheless he made at least eight progress proof variations before the published state.
In this progress proof the trees on the right reach almost to the top of the image and the highest and lowest mill sails have not been scraped. The woman in the lane faces left and there is only one bird in the sky, centre left.