The White Horse, 1819
Frick Collection, New York, USA, oil on canvas
"In 1819, Constable exhibited the first of his monumental "six-footers," canvases which he hoped would attract attention. His previous works had been small compositions, now he wanted to enter the great tradition of European landscapes. Constable entitled this work, "A scene on the River Stour," but its first owner renamed the masterpiece, The White Horse. It shows a flat-barge crossing the river just below Flatford Mill, at a point where the tow-path switched sides. Two men are pushing against into the current with long poles, while in the aft of the boat the horse, which will be used to pull the boat, stands patiently."