DETAIL: John CONSTABLE,  Great Britain 1776 � 1837  'Harwich Lighthouse' c.1820 oil on canvas Tate, London, gift of Maria Louisa Constable, Isabel Constable and Lionel Bicknell Constable in 1888 Tate, London 2005
John CONSTABLE | Hampstead Heath with London in the distance

Great Britain 1776 – 1837
Hampstead Heath with London in the distance c.1827-30
oil on canvas
64.1 (h) x 94.6 (w) cm
private collection
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Hampstead was popular with artists and writers in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century, who sought the refuge of the countryside within close reach of London.

This is one of a number of views from Hampstead, with London and the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral visible in the distance, painted after Constable moved with his family to live at Well Walk, Hampstead in 1827. He probably based this work on a smaller outdoor study of the subject (private collection)that he painted soon after his arrival at the Well Walk house.The animated sky in this work complements the uncultivated landscape of the Heath. The energy of the sky and expansive view of the Heath also convey the power of nature.

Constable reported to Fisher that the view from the drawing room window of the house in Well Walk was

unequalled in Europe – from Westminster Abbey to Gravesend. The dome of St Paul’s in the air, realizes Michael Angelo’s idea on seeing that of the Pantheon – ‘I will build such a thing in the sky’ (Beckett VI, p. 231).

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