Constable lovingly depicted the garden and fields behind his family home, a place he described to Maria Bicknell as ‘the sweet feilds where we have passed so many happy hours together’ (Beckett II, p. 78). He drew the scene from above, from a first floor window at the back of the house, enlivened by the activity taking place. In the foreground he showed the flower garden that he associated with his mother and the adjacent kitchen garden that he connected with his father. He included the figure of a woman (perhaps his mother) in the flower garden and two gardeners tending the rows of vegetables in the kitchen garden. He depicted a cowherd and cattle beside his father’s barn on the left, and on the extreme right he showed the East Bergholt rectory where Maria stayed at times during their courtship. The mill where he had once worked is shown on the horizon in the centre.
Constable’s pride in his family’s successful and well-organised farm is evident. He depicted an ordered and harmonious landscape, and because of his personal connections and his deep affection for the place, he created an emotionally charged scene. but ultimately, this dynamic image transcends the personal and the local, as well as time and place.
This is one of two carefully detailed drawings that Constable may have exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1815.