Constable depicted this windmill under a bright light in front of a dark grey sky. He applied the paint thickly onto the canvas, streaking white highlights over the surface with an expressive and dramatic effect. His friend and biographer, C.R. Leslie quoted Constable’s brother Abram commenting: ‘when I look at a mill painted by John, I see that it will go round which is not always the case with those other artists’ (Leslie (1843/45) 1951, p. 4).
This is the oil painting that Lucas used as a basis for the mezzotint A mill near Brighton ). Constable may have painted it from nature or in the studio specifically for the mezzotint. If the former, he would have painted it between 1824 and 1828 at Brighton, and if the latter, he would probably have painted it in 1829 when he first started working with Lucas. The schematic nature of the foliage and the roughly painted, stormy sky suggests that Constable painted it in the studio, specifically for Lucas. The dated progress proofs show that it had definitely been painted by 1829.