1776 - 1837
Constable first moved to Hampstead in 1819 when he and his wife rented Albion Cottage, near Whitestone Pond, to escape the city for the summer. They lived around the Heath on and off, at 2 Lower Terrace in the summers of 1821 and 22, then at Stamford Lodge on Heath Street, before settling at 40 Well Walk in 1827. Sadly, his wife had been fighting a long battle with tuberculosis and died in 1828; Constable was left to care for their seven children alone, until his death in 1937.
Throughout Constable’s time in Hampstead, the Heath and its changing cloudscapes were a favourite subject of his. In 1819 he painted Hampstead Heath, with the House Called ‘The Salt Box’ featuring the area near Judges Walk and the (now disappeared) Branch Hill Pond, with Albion Cottage in the distance. He painted many scenes of Branch Hill Pond around this time. He also had a habit of drawing or painting ‘Fir Trees at Hampstead’, leading to these trees being nicknamed Constable’s Firs. It is thought that a row of trees along the Viaduct Path might be the last survivors of the ones that Constable painted.