The dome of St Paul’s Cathedral dominates the background in this distant view of London, while the foreground is occupied by the shrubs and parkland of Hampstead Heath.
The Hampstead Water Company, formed in 1692 to meet London's growing water demands, dammed Hampstead Brook (one of the Fleet River's sources) in 1777 to help meet London's growing water demands. The company created a series of reservoirs on the Heath's east (Highgate) side to contain the water, before transporting it to London. Most of these reservoirs, or Hampstead Ponds, survive to this day and are now in use as swimming pools, a model boating pond and two wildlife reserves: the Stock Pond and the Bird Sanctuary Pond.
Landscape artist Francis James Sarjent was based in London. He gave his address as '10, Howland Street' (off Tottenham Court Road), when he exhibited two works at the Royal Academy in 1802 and 1803. They were titled 'View of the city of London from the fields below Hampstead' and 'A View of Woolwich, looking down the river'. A watercolour by Sarjent was sold through Christie's, London, in 1987 and two further watercolours by the artist were sold through Sotheby's, London, in 1985 and 1994.
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