Hampstead Heath, 1855-56
This is a painting by John Linnell called Hampstead Heath and was created around 1855-56. The mediums used was oil on canvas and he uses warm, earthy tones. He uses a feathery style of painting.
The colours used reminds me of a warm autumn day. This image looks as though it could have been painted at the end of August/Early September. In other words, around the end of Summer/Early Autumn. I see a lot of yellow tones predominantly on the grass and the trees are not as full as they would be if it was mid-summer. The day looks bright, but it is also showing signs of early darkness. Since this is a nature painting, I imagine sounds of birds chirping, leaves rustling and the cool breeze gently brushing your face. Being in this environment put you in a calm mindset. You are more likely to think better and be in a more positive mood.
There are three men in the centre of this image, one standing, one sitting and the other looks as if he is picking up something from the ground. The one standing is holding a casket in his hand. This could symbolise that he owns a farm and farming is his full-time jobs. The group of men could be coming from a long day of farming and are using this opportunity to rest and catch up on old times. They could be old friends that haven’t seen each other in a while. There is a child who is unattended on the far left of the image. It appears their attention is away from the child. This could portray that the area is safe enough for the child to freely play without adult supervision. There are two animals to the right of the image. Possibly one of the farmers owns them or they (the animals) can freely roam around the farmland.
The title of the painting doesn’t relate to the image being portrayed. When I think of Hampstead Heath, I think of London, which then expands my thinking to a busy city life. This painting shows a different side to London and defeats the stereotypes I and many people may have when they think of London. It makes me curious to know what this area is about. Where could I find Hampstead Heath? What is so different about this area? Why doesn’t it fit the stereotype of the busy, city life?