Wivenhoe Park, located about fifty-five miles northeast of London, was the seat of the Rebow family. Major-General Rebow, a friend of Constable’s father, commissioned the artist to capture the beauty of his estate, inviting him to spend some weeks on the premises. General Rebow specified that certain features be included in the painting. Constable arranged these harmoniously, modifying the actual location of certain elements (for example, the house and lake were not actually part of the same view). Typically, the owner of such a house might wish for a more grandiose portrait of it, but Constable preferred the everyday poetry of landscape and sky.
The painting was a important project for Constable on a personal level: He needed the income the commission generated in order to provide for his longtime love, Maria Bicknell, and enable them to marry with the approval of her parents, who opposed the match for a number of years. Wivenhoe Park, Essex was finished by September 1816, and Bicknell and Constable were at last married on October 2, 1816.