John Constable RA, Hampstead Heath looking towards Harrow (I)
John Constable RA, Hampstead Heath looking towards Harrow (I)

Hampstead Heath looking towards Harrow (I), 27 September 1821

John Constable RA (1776 - 1837)

RA Collection: Art

In 1819 Constable bought a house in Hampstead and spent part of the year there with his wife and family. It was close to Hampstead Heath, which became one of Constable's favourite sketching grounds for observing changing weather conditions. He often recorded the date and conditions of his studies on the reverse, noting in this case that he made the study at 4pm on 27 September 1821 when the atmosphere was 'very warm and bright after rain'.

This was the third sky and landscape study of Hampstead Heath that Constable made on this day. It was sketched at 4pm, while the others were done at 10.00, (Cloud Study with Trees) and noon (Cloud Study: Horizon of Trees).

The animated brushwork of this sketch conveys a feeling of movement inherent in landscape. The trees are only roughly sketched in, and there is a clear delineation between foreground, middle ground and background with the sky nonetheless given much importance. Constable states that he wanted to paint nature with its ‘light – dews – breezes – bloom – and freshness’ rather than artificial conventions.

Further Reading

Graham Reynolds, John Constable, The Later Paintings and Drawings, Yale University Press, London & New Haven, 1984, Text Vol. p. 83, no. 21.55; Plates Vol. pl. 259

Object details

Hampstead Heath looking towards Harrow (I)
John Constable RA (1776 - 1837)
27 September 1821
Object type
Oil on paper laid on board, red ground

235 mm x 286 mm

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
Given by Isabel Constable 1888

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