John Constable

A Bank on Hampstead Heath


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John Constable 1776–1837
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 206 × 254 mm
frame: 400 × 450 × 90 mm
Bequeathed by George Salting 1910

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Between 1819 to 1826 Constable rented a house at Hampstead nearly every summer and made many oil sketches of the surrounding landscape and skies. In 1827 he moved there permanently. Constable was fascinated with the broken textures of the heath, and made a number of studies of it seen from close to. Some of these are quite highly finished, like this example. A glimpse of more distant landscape to the right acts as a counterbalance, while the tiny figures on the horizon help establish the scale.

Gallery label, May 2007

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Catalogue entry

N02658 A Bank on Hampstead Heath Circa 1820–22

Oil on canvas, 8 1/8×9 15/16 (20.6×25.3).

Inscribed on a label formerly on the back and now separately preserved: ‘On Hampstead Heath. by J. Constable RA. From Miss Isabel Constable to Clifford Constable’.
Prov: Given by Isabel Constable to her nephew Clifford Constable (see above) and sold by him, Christie's 23 June 1894 (49, ‘On Hampstead Heath’), bt. Tooth £53. 11s.;...; Alexander Young, from whom bought by Agnew's July 1906 and sold by them to George Salting July 1907;1 bequeathed by Salting to the National Gallery 1910; transferred to the Tate Gallery 1919. Accession No. 2658.
Exh: Agnew's 1910(116); Tate Gallery 1937(p.39, No.105); Constable and his Contemporaries, Burgh House, Well Walk, Hampstead 1951(11).
Lit: Holmes 1910, p.85; Shirley 1937, p.121; Chamot 1956, p.261; Beckett 1961, Paintings: Middlesex B(27) No.88; Hoozee 1979, No.527.

1. Records of Salting's dealings with Agnew's are still with the firm and I am grateful to William Joll for showing them to me.

2. Oil on paper, 9 3/4×11 3/4 (24.8×29.8).

A similar study of ‘A sandbank at Hampstead Heath’, dated 2 November 1821, is in the V.&A. (Fig. 1, R.228, H.320).2 No.21 probably also dates from the early 1820s.

Published in:
Leslie Parris, The Tate Gallery Constable Collection, London 1981

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