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This is Constable’s last treatment of one of his favourite Hampstead subjects. To the usual ingredients of his Branch Hill Pond composition, this time he added a windmill that never existed there, and also a double rainbow. Rainbows are often included in Constable’s late work, either for symbolic reasons or for their associated physical properties. He admired the way Rubens, when painting a rainbow, could combine ‘dewy light and freshness, the departing shower, with the exhilaration of the returning sun’.

May 2007