The Grove, or the Admiral's House in Hampstead

John Constable1821/1822

Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

After 1819 Constable, one of the leading English landscape painters of his day, used to spend the summers in Hampstead. He later moved there altogether. In Hampstead he produced numerous landscape and cloud studies that are fascinating for their lively perception of atmospheric conditions and for their spontaneous, infinitely subtle painterly technique. The admiral’s house is romantically secluded among trees and shrubs, and touched by an uneasy light. The building itself combines the characteristic shape of English chimney stacks with an unusual flat roof that the admiral had had put on a few years previously. The house succumbs to the superior power of nature, as do the small accessory figures in the foreground. The force of the elements, the light, and even the damp breeze following a passing shower are palpable. The intensity of Constable’s observation of nature readily identifies him as a precursor of the plein air painters. In this work he goes beyond the mere depiction of light effects, bringing to life the movement and texture of the clouds, the wind, and the damp air.

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  • Title: The Grove, or the Admiral's House in Hampstead
  • Creator: John Constable
  • Date Created: 1821/1822
  • Physical Dimensions: w50.0 x h60.0 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Technique and material: Oil on canvas
  • Inv.-No.: A I 850
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-815114
  • External link: Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyrights: Text: © Prestel Verlag / Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Photo: © b p k - Photo Agency / Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Jörg P. Anders
  • Collection: Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Artist biography: John Constable was an English Romantic painter and became famous for his landscape paintings. As a young man he was introduced to George Beaumont, who showed him artworks by Claude Lorrain, which had a great influence on the artist. As a young man he started drawing without any formal artistic education. Later, he entered the Royal Academy of Art as a probationer where he studied and copied old masters. During this period Thomas Gainsborough, Claude Lorrain, Peter Paul Rubens, Annibale Carracci and Jacob van Ruisdael served him as inspiration. His early style is characterized by a freshness of light, colour and touch, and was influenced by the old masters, especially Claude Lorrain. Scenes of ordinary daily life were his main subject, something that was rather unfashionable at the time. He disagreed with the opinion that artists should apply their imagination more than nature itself as a guide to their art. He painted oil sketches but is also known for his use of watercolours. Among his famous works are 'Dedham Vale' (1802), 'The Cornfield' (1826) and 'Seascape Study with Rain Cloud' (1827).
  • Artist Place of Death: London-Hampstead, United Kingdom
  • Artist Place of Birth: East Bergholt, Suffolk, United Kingdom
  • Artist Dates: 1776-06-11/1837-03-31