Over a two year span, beginning in 1820 and culminating in the summer of 1822 when he completed as many as 50 cloud studies, English painter John Constable had his eyes on the sky over Hampstead. Most studies were finished in under an hour. “I have done a good deal of skying,” he wrote to a friend. He thought the best time for sky-watching was a July or August morning at 9 am “when the sun has gained sufficient strength to give splendor to the landscape, still hemmed with the morning dew.”
Can there be a more lovely undertaking? Encyclopedia of the Exquisite celebrates
Luke Howard’s cloud classification systems, and anyone who checks this oh-so-intermittent record knows how much I love images of the sky. Seemed like a good thing to do this morning to gather some of Constable’s best efforts.
“It will be difficult to name a class of Landscape in which the sky is not the ‘key note’ —the standard of ‘Scale’, and the chief ‘Organ of sentiment'” Constable noted. “The sky is the ‘source of light’ in nature—and governs every thing. Even our common observations on the weather of every day, are suggested by them but it does not occur to us.”