After seeing this painting exhibited at the British Institute in 1855 Ruskin commented: 'What made you take such a very ugly subject? It was a pity, for there was some nice painting in it.' Brown replied: 'Because it lay out of a back window.'
Many of the 'modern' subjects Brown chose to paint were inspired by places and events from his own life. This scene is a view of Hampstead from the window of Brown's lodgings and reveals Brown's interest in capturing the light on an autumn afternoon. It was begun in October 1852 but took two years to complete. There are relatively few existing studies for Brown's landscapes and though there are several landscape paintings in Birmingham's collections there is only one drawing relating to landscapes in the collection.