Visit Flatford Mill today and the scene appears largely unchanged; an English rural idyll. But the area around is carefully managed, not just for the benefit of wildlife and farming, but specifically to maintain the appearance of Constable’s paintings. These aims are not necessarily incompatible, but there is an acknowledged desire to maintain a look that can be marketed as ‘Constable Country’. The landscape is to some extent a simulacrum; a present sculpted around a romanticised vision of the past. And it isn’t possible to recreate the scene of The Hay Wain exactly as it was two hundred years ago. The challenges of doing so offer a glimpse into a future we are already being forced to come to terms with.