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John Constable, 1776–1837, British

Sir Richard Steele's Cottage, Hampstead

Former Title(s):

A View of London, with Sir Richard Steele's House

Sir Richard Steele's Cottage

Hampstead Heath

Sir Richard Steele's Cottage at Hampstead

View of London with Sir Richard Steel's [sic] Cottage

1831 to 1832
Oil on canvas
Support (PTG): 8 1/4 x 11 1/4 inches (21 x 28.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
buildings | carriage | church | city | cityscape | clouds | cottage | factory | houses | industry | landscape | light | people | road | shadows | skyline | smoke | steeple | texture | town | travel | turbans
Associated Places:
England | Europe | Greater London | Hampstead | United Kingdom
On view

St. Paul's Cathedral and the City of London (the business center and heart of the city) are visible on the horizon in this view from a high point in Hampstead. Hampstead's elevated vantage point allowed Constable to contrast the relatively rural nature of these suburban surroundings with the smoky metropolis below. The painting takes its name from the most famous resident of the simple white cottage on the right. In the eighteenth century the Anglo-Irish essayist and playwright Sir Richard Steele had for a time taken refuge from his creditors there, and the legend added another layer of anachronistic charm to life in Hampstead.

Gallery label for An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-04-18 - 2007-07-29)
From 1821 on, John and Maria Constable lived with their growing family in the village of Hampstead, which was situated on high ground overlooking London from the northwest. The present view southeast, along what was then known as Hampstead Road (now Haverstock Hill), is not far from the present Chalk Farm underground railway station. The eponymous cottage on the right was so named because the improvident early eighteenth-century Anglo-Irish essayist and playwright.-.his real name was Isaac Bickerstaff.-.for a time took refuge there from his creditors. It had previously been the residence of the dramatist and wit Sir Charles Sedley. The cottage was demolished in 1867. The site is commemorated not by the pub called the Sir Richard Steele, which is farther up the hill, but by Steele's Road, for which the site made way. St. Paul's Cathedral and the city of London are clearly visible on the horizon. In fact this view was largely the same as the Constables' from their leased house at 6 Well Walk. "Our little drawing room," boasted Constable in a letter to his friend John Fisher, "commands a view unequalled in all of Europe [Constable never traveled outside England!]. -.from Westminster Abbey to Gravesend.-.the doom [sic] of St. Paul's in the Air realizes Michael Angelo's Idea on seeing that of the Pantheon: 'I will build such a thing in the Sky' " (27 August 1827, Constable, Correspondence, vol. 6, p. 231). The painting was engraved in mezzotint in 1845 by David Lucas.

Angus Trumble

John Baskett, Paul Mellon's legacy: a passion for British art : masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, p. 289, no. 101, pl. 101, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Constable lived in the village of Hampstead, north of London, from 1821 until his death in 1837. This work shows the view from Hampstead Road (now Haverstock Hill), with the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral in the distance and Sir Richard Steele's Cottage on the right. The cottage was known as such because the famous early eighteenth-century essayist lived there for a time, largely to escape his creditors in London.

Malcolm Warner

Malcolm Warner, The Paul Mellon Bequest : treasures of a lifetime, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2001, p. 37, N5247 M385 P28 2001 (YCBA)

John Baskett, Constable oil sketches, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York, 1966, pp. 82-3, No. 32, Folio AN 19 (YCBA)

John Baskett, Paul Mellon's Legacy: a Passion for British Art: Masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, p. 289, no. 101, pl. 101, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Ronald Brymer Beckett, Correspondence: John Constable, v.4, 6, 8, 10-12, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1962, p. 231 (v. 6), NJ18 C74 A2 1962 (YCBA)

Ann Bermingham, Landscape and ideology, the English rustic tradition, 1740-1860 , Thames and Hudson, London, 1987, pp. 163-64, fig. 72, ND1354.4 B47 1987 (YCBA)

Christie's sale catalogue : Catalogue of the Works of the Late John Constable, R.A. : 11 July 1887, Christie's, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, July 11, 1887, p. 6, Lot 69, Fiche B51, Fiche #0252 (YCBA) Also available online : Art Sales Catalpgues Online - Lugt # 46747

Christie's sale catalogue : Works of the late John Constable, R.A. : 17 June 1892, Christie's, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, June 17, 1892, p. 15, Lot 250, Fiche B51 (YCBA) Also available online : Art Sales Catalogues - Lugt # 50958

Constable Centenary, a synoptic exhibition , Apollo, vol. 25, London, May 1937, pp. 292-297, N1 A54 57:1 OVERSIZE

Joseph Grego, The Art Collection at Bell-Moor the House of Mr. Thomas J. Barratt, Part II , Magazine of Art, [not given], January, 1898, pp.5, 189,190-192, N1 M34 OVERSIZE Also Available on line in British Periodcals II data base; hard copy also available at LSF J10 M268 +

Luke Herrmann, The Paul Mellon Collection at Burlington House, Connoisseur, v. 157, no. 634, December 1964, p. 221, N1 C75 + OVERSIZE (YCBA) Another copy available in YCBA Vertical File Collection: v 2334

Robert Hoozee, L'opera completa di Constable, 98, Rizzoli, Milano, Italy, 1979, p. 151, no. 663, NJ18 C74 A12 +H66 (YCBA)

John Constable, a selection of paintings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon. , National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1969, pp. 58-59, no. 63, NJ18 C74 U5 (YCBA)

Charles Robert Leslie, Memoirs of the life of John Constable composed chiefly of his letters, Phaidon Press, London, UK, 1951, p. 208, NJ18 C74 L47 1951 (YCBA)

Charles Robert Leslie, Memoirs of the life of John Constable, R.A., The Medici Society, Ltd., London, UK, 1937, pp. 285..., pl. 137, NJ18 C74 L47 1937 (YCBA)

Painting in England 1700-1850 from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, The Royal Academy of Arts Winter Exhibition 1964-65., , Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK, 1964, p. 26 (v.1), no. 83, ND466 R68 1964/65 (YCBA) Also available on Microfiche: Fiche B214 (YCBA)

Painting in England 1700-1850, collection of Mr. & Mrs. Paul Mellon. , Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, 1963, p. 84 (v.1);, No. 114 (V.1), pl. 36 (v.2), ND466 V57 v.1-2 (YCBA)

Leslie Parris, Constable, Tate Publishing, London, UK, 1991, p. 243, NJ18 C74 P372 1991 + (YCBA)

Paul Mellon's Legacy, a passion for British art. [large print labels] , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, v. 3, N5220 M552 +P381 2007, Mellon Shelf (YCBA)

Graham Reynolds, The later paintings and drawings of John Constable, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1984, p. 235 (v.1), no. 32.6, pl. 821 (v.2), NJ18 C74 R485 + (YCBA)

Charles Rhyne, Constable Drawings and Watercolors in the Collections of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon and the Yale Center for British Art, Part I. Authentic Works , Master Drawings, vol. 19, Master Drawings Association, Inc., 1981, p. 140, note 2, NC1 M37 19 (YCBA)

Andrew Shirley, John Constable, R. A., Medical Society, London, 1944, p. 25, no. 137, pl. 137, NJ18 C74 S55 (YCBA)

Andrew Shirley, The published mezzotints of David Lucas after John Constable, R.A., a catalogue and historical account , Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1930, pp.12,212, NJ18 C74 S5 + (YCBA)

Basil Taylor, Constable, paintings, drawings and watercolours; , Phaidon, London, UK, 1973, p. 209, note 59, no. 157, NJ18 C74 T39 + (YCBA)

The catalogue of a centenary memorial exhibition of John Constable, his origins and influence : illustrating the various periods of his work, also the work of his predecessors, and his influence on the art of his successors : 21st April to 29th May, 1937, held at Messrs. Wildenstein's Galleries , Wildenstein Galleries, London, 1937, p. 33, no. 63, NJ18 C74 T87 (YCBA)

Malcolm Warner, The Paul Mellon Bequest : treasures of a lifetime, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2001, p. 37, N5247 M385 P28 2001 (YCBA)

Yale University Art Gallery, Painting in England, 1700-1850, from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, [exhibition at] Yale University Art Gallery, April 15-June 20, 1965. , vol. 1, W. Clowes and sons, New Haven, 1965, pp. 13-14 (v.1), no. 46, ND466 Y35 (YCBA)

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