This sketch of a cottage in Constable's native East Bergholt is one of his earliest known dated drawings. The light, schematic, somewhat tentative style is typical of his early work. However, it is one of only two drawings in his first sketchbook to include a human figure, and is on the only sheet divided to accommodate two drawings. In 1796, the year Constable created the sketchbook from which this drawing comes, he had not yet committed himself to an artistic career; it was assumed that he would enter his father's business. The same year, he met the writer J. T. 'Antiquity' Smith, who was collecting material for a book on rural scenery. Constable offered him several sketches of local cottages for possible inclusion in the book. Although Smith responded positively, he ultimately chose not to include any of Constable's cottage sketches in the published book.