England at the time of the Restoration, 1694. Mr. Herbert, a wealthy landowner, has to leave his estate in the Wiltshire countryside for some time. During his absence his wife, in the attempt to recover their unstable marriage, engages landscape painter Mr. Neville to produce twelve drawings of the house and garden as a present to Mr. Herbert. In accordance with the costumes of a time when puritan sanctimoniousness often made way for carefully concealed sexual impulses, the painter introduces a nasty clause in the contract with his client, by which the latter agrees to have a sexual encounter with him for each work produced. But disaster lingers: the dead body of Mr. Herbert is discovered in the moat of the house. A number of details appear in Neville's drawings, which point ultimately to a murder, perhaps pre-ordained, and the painter, originally a bold lady killer, is thus involved in a plot that his sketches may be about to reveal, perhaps unintentionally. From the reassuring escapiste ambiances of Gainsborough’s paintings, the garden is deprived of its ‘backdrop’ role to become a criminal and murderous machine, a melting pot of conspiracy and deception, where not even art and painting can restore the coexistence between man and nature: cooping up reality in a geometric drawing matrix is just a vain wish to govern the uncontrollable flow of life.