Hampstead Heath with Bathers

Artist: John Constable (British, East Bergholt 1776–1837 Hampstead)

Date: ca. 1821–22

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 9 5/8 x 15 3/8 in. (24.4 x 39.1 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Thaw Collection, Jointly Owned by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Morgan Library & Museum, Gift of Eugene V. Thaw, 2009

Accession Number: 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. On the back of the painting he noted: "July—noon—Hampstead Heath—looking north—wind south east." 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.