This sketch seems to depict a barge being drawn by horses out of a dry dock. On the back there is a study of cows. Constable's aim was to paint ordinary things with fresh insight: 'Willows, old rotten planks, slimy posts and brickwork, I love such things. My art is to be found under every hedge'. His work, with its direct approach to nature, was too original to be popular in his lifetime and official recognition by the Royal Academy was slow to come. Many of his small oil sketches, like this one, were painted out of doors. Some of these he intended to use as studies for larger and more finished pictures.