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Representations of the countryside in art are of several, overlapping, kinds. They can be incidental details in the background of the main subject, perhaps a biblical or mythological scene; some are idealised depictions of a perfect landscape; others are intended to accurately show a real place.

Before industrialisation, the countryside was a source of a nation’s and a landowner’s economic power. Both agricultural activities and the produce of the countryside are common features of Northern European art, which set out to reflect all aspects of society. Britons’ love of their countryside is reflected in their love for John Constable, one of the first artists to record the natural appearance of the countryside and whose influence continues to the present day.