Constable's House - HAMPSTEAD HEATH - 2016***

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Constable's House

Constable's Hampstead House ( 40 Well Walk, Hampstead, London NW3)

Constable rented a house at Hampstead for his family almost every summer between 1819 and 1826. In 1827, he moved there more permanently, whilst still keeping on his studio in London.

In this way he combined the advantages of both locations.

He wrote to his friend Fisher 'I am three miles from door to door - can have a message in an hour - & I can always get away from idle callers - and above all see nature - & unite a town & country life.'

It was Hampstead that became the main focus of his later work. The Constables first took a house there, in addition to their London home, in 1819. Thereafter they rented a house at Hampstead for part of each year, except 1824, finally acquiring a more permanent home there in 1827.

In his painting Constable familiarised himself with Hampstead Heath by making innumerable studies of the same scenes under different conditions.

The views westward from the heath, looking towards Harrow for example, were tried again and again, in much the same way that in earlier years he had repeatedly studied the view from Langham, looking down to Dedham and the Stout estuary.

However, at Hampstead, Constable became more acutely conscious of weather as a continuous phenomenon, for ever altering the appearance of the landscape: he became, indeed, more aware of the changefulness of nature as a whole.

In 1821 and 1822 he undertook an intense study of the most transient of all natural phenomena, the sky, producing dozens of cloud sketches, annotating them with precise details of time, wind direction and so on.

Constable’s "Fir Trees at Hampstead” picture was of Firs Avenue, planted by merchant John Turner close to Heath End and Spaniards.

Today, a couple of the pines still survive.

Other references to John Constable can be found on this website at his LIFE and SLIDES.

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