Constable depicted a scene on the outskirts of Hampstead, with sheep grazing on the hill on the left, and with the sun shining through clouds that promise summer rain. He adopted a high viewpoint looking across a great stretch of country towards Kilburn windmill. Reynolds has suggested that it is a sketch and dated around 1830 because Constable painted it in a similar fashion to Hampstead Heath with London in the distance c.1827–30 .
However, Leslie Parris and Ian Fleming-Williams maintain that this is a finished cabinet picture from Constable’s early years at Hampstead, around 1820–21, when he stayed at nearby Lower Terrace (Tate 1991, p. 218). They suggest that ‘with prominent tree, the shepherd with his dog and flock, and the view to the fields below with its minutely observed figures and cattle, this is one of Constable’s more Suffolk-looking Hampstead works’ (ibid.). They particularly draw attention to Constable’s achievement in painting the sunlit windmill and the way he masterfully integrated the sky into the landscape.
It is the oil painting that Lucas used as a basis for the mezzotint, Noon 1830 , one of three Hampstead subjects that he engraved.