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Discover Constable & The Hay Wain

17 October 2024 – 2 February 2025

The Sunley Room

Find out what lies behind the making of 'The Hay Wain' and its iconic status in British art.

Through paintings including George Morland’s building storm and the atmospheric light of William Mulready’s farrier shop, we look at how Constable’s contemporaries created rural scenes. William Blake’s mystic works take us into the realm of the spiritual landscape while we experience the poetic and political landscape through contemporary poetry and prints.

We bring together sketches of the scene the artist made over twenty years before producing the finished work in his London studio.

When early 19th-century visitors saw Constable’s 'Hay Wain' some found his truthful vision of the Suffolk landscape to be quite radical. Today, over 200 years later, the painting is considered a traditional image of the English countryside. This status has led artists and activists to reinterpret, edit, and react to the painting, particularly in light of our changing climate.

To tell the story of 'The Hay Wain', our journey through England’s landscape at the turn of the 19th century will bring together works by artists Constable himself admired and images made by artists in response to his own painting.

Detail from John Constable, 'The Hay Wain', 1821 © The National Gallery, London

Ticket prices


Please book a free Gallery entry ticket to gain admission to the National Gallery. We encourage you to book ahead of your visit.

Members enjoy an exclusive preview day on 16 October. Join today

Exhibition supported by

The Thompson Family Charitable Trust




The Sunley Room exhibition programme is supported by the Bernard Sunley Foundation