British Museum collections, £12.99
Height: 197.000 mm
Width: 324.000 mm
Gift of Miss Isabel Constable
On loan to
John Constable, London from Hampstead, with a double rainbow, a watercolour
A view from the artist's home
Constable and his wife Maria first moved to Hampstead in 1819, hoping the fresher air would ease her tuberculosis. In the summer of 1827, they moved to a house on Well Walk, Hampstead, that offered a splendid view over London. 'It is to my wife's heart's content', he wrote, '...our little drawing room commands a view unequalled in Europe... the dome of St Paul's in the air, realizes Michael Angelo's idea on seeing that on the Pantheon — "I will build such a thing in the sky"'.
Maria died in 1828. Constable, whose ideas about symbolism in nature were constantly changing, occasionally considered a rainbow to be a symbol of resurrection, a thought that may have been comforting as he contemplated his late wife's favourite view.
J. Rowlands, Master drawings and watercolou (London, The British Museum Press, 1984)
L. Stainton, British landscape watercolours (London, The British Museum Press, 1985)
I. Fleming-Williams, Constable: landscape watercolo (London, Tate Gallery, 1976)