Hampstead Heath with Bathers, ca. 1821–22
John Constable (English, 1776–1837)
Oil on canvas; 9 5/8 x 15 3/8 in. (24.4 x 39.1 cm)
Thaw Collection, Jointly Owned by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Morgan Library & Museum, Gift of Eugene V. Thaw, 2009 (2009.400.26)
Constable painted in the open spaces of then-rural Hampstead in order to escape London's intense summer heat. This is one of about one hundred sketches he made there in 1821–22, in which he attempted to convey specific atmospheric effects. Constable referred to the practice of painting these works as "skying," although he often included a strip of land to contribute a sense of scale and depth.