Constable visited the Fishers regularly at Salisbury, at which times he made a number of drawings of the ancient mound of Old Sarum. After the death of his wife Maria in 1828, Constable saw even more of his friend John Fisher, who provided him with support at this difficult time. In July 1829 Constable and his two eldest children, John and Minna, spent three weeks with Fisher and his wife Mary in Salisbury Close; and in November he returned to Salisbury to collect Minna who had stayed on after the summer. Constable made this drawing during his July visit. He gave it a pastoral atmosphere by depicting a shepherd with his flock in the foreground, before an open plain and the mound of Old Sarum.
Constable also painted an oil sketch of this subject in 1829 (Victoria and Albert Museum, London) in which he adopted a similar aspect. Lucas used this oil sketch as a basis for the first of two mezzotints of Old Sarum ).