OIL PAINTING: The Hay Wain, 1821
The Hay Wain is revered today as one of the greatest British paintings, but when it was originally exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1821 (under the title Landscape: Noon) it failed to find a buyer. It was considerably better received in France where it was praised by Theodore Gericault. The painting caused a sensation when it was exhibited with other oil paintings by Constable at the 1824 Paris Salon (it has been suggested that the inclusion of Constable's paintings in the exhibition were a tribute to Gericault, who died early that year). In that exhibition The Hay Wain was singled out for a gold medal awarded by Charles X of France, a cast of which is incorporated into the picture's frame. The paintings by Constable in the exhibition inspired a new generation of French painters, including Eugene Delacroix.
The Hay Wain was voted the second best painting in Britain in a 2005 poll organised by the Today programme in September 2005. It is currently exhibited at the National Gallery in London.