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By Louis Hawes I' have done a good deal of skying- I am determinedto conquerall difficulties and that most arduousone among the rest.... The sky is the source oflight in nature and governseverything.' 1 So wrotethemostdedicated cloud sketcherin history,John Constable. No other paintermasteredto his extent the ever-changing appearances of nature'smost elusiverealm. While severalearlierand contemporary artists madeoccasional skystudies,Constable holds a unique place in this sphere, not only becauseof the unprecedented quantityof his studies(mostof them in oil) but aboveall becausethey so often possess a compellingveracityand a richlyexpressive vitality. They achievean unrivalleddegreeof pictorialself-sufficiency, fullyjustifyingtheir acceptance today as autonomous worksof art. Constable's preoccupation with the sky culminatedin I82I-22, when he waged a veritablecampaignof 'skying'while residingat HampsteadHeath in the late summerand early fall of each year. Many of these studiessurvive, frequentlyinscribedon the back with the place, date, time, wind direction and furtherspecificweatherinformation.2Those of I82I (P1.sIa) generally include some suggestionof the earth, most often tree tops; moreover,the clouds are seldom particularlynaturalistic,being very freely brushed on, sometimeswith an almostexpressionist vehemence. The 'pure'cloud studies (P1.5IC) date chieflyfrom the followingyear. Most of these are larger,with the cloudsmorefully and subtlycharacterized.As the artisthimselfput it in a letter toJohn Fisher,7 October I822: 'I have made about 50 carefulstudies of skies tolerablylarge, to be carefull.'3 Often, the cloud forms are so convincing as to invite the meteorologicallyminded person to classify them accordingto the standardcategories:cirrus, stratus, cumulus, nimbus and their combinations. This in fact gave rise to one of the most widely cited bookson the artist,Kurt Badt'sjZohn Constable's Clouds (I950), which expressly tries to demonstratethat Constablereceived a decisive, even indispensable stimulusfrom the new science of meteorology. His thesishas won considerable acceptance in subsequentliterature,4despite its arbitraryarguments,
3 Op. Cit., p. I04. 1 Letterto John Fisher,23 October I82 I; Probablya fair number R. B. Beckett,ffohnConstable andtheFishers, of theseskieswere among the forty-onepure cloud studies (most datable I822) formerly London I 952, pp. 8 I-82. in the Newson-Smith Collection, sold at 2A typical entry reads: 'Sepr. I2. I82I. 26 January I 95I . Photographs Noon. Windfreshat West.... Sun veryHot. Christie's, of lookingsouthward exceedingly brightvivid & each are availableat the Witt Library,CourGlowing, very heavy showersin the After- tauld Instituteof Art. 4 While some scholarscite Badt's conclunoon but a fine evening. High wind in the night' (no. 222 in the Victoria and Albert sion without particularlyaffirmingit, none Museum). Characteristic is the thoroughly have criticallyexaminedor challengedit in empirical,unschematic nature of such nota- print. The only demuris A. P. Oppe'spassand ffohn tions. This particular entry reveals Con- ing commentin his book, Alexander stable's interest in linking a momentary Robert Cozens (London I 952). He rightly weathereffiect with subsequent developments. observes that the aspects of clouds which He possessed the 'modern' view of weatheras Constablespecially emphasizes 'their moa sequential process, ratherthan a melangeof bility, buoyancy,and above all, lighting'are 'purely a matter of vision and totally isolable,unrelated phases.
for TheArtBulletin. The Liberal and Fine choice of potential skies' (p.greatly expandedin the I950'S. (3) cer.most Constable'sskying.5 I ) . (4) the evidentvalue to a land. Becketthasrecently pp. I60-6. In his recent monograph. Howard reprintedthe essay (minusthe illustrations) as the closingchapterof volume II of his major work. stable's Correspondence I-VI. 'On the Modificationsof Clouds'.The I 960 Germanedition5presents his theoryin the same unqualifiedmanner. The new title better corre. R. GrahamReynolds'sCatalogue of theConstableCorrespondence and other Memorials of John Collection in the Victoria and AlbertMuseum. in the Victoriaand London I 960. xliii.Library. 86). By no means strictlyconfinedto philosophy sectionIV). Prior to Badt'sbook. I953-56.notably: (I) the 7 Badtand subsequent writers on Gonstable painter'sapparentconcernaboutachievinga err in assuming that Tilloch's Philosophical consistencybetween the illuminationof the journalhad only a very limited circulation. as soon as it appeared'. andtheArts. Badtrejectsthis environmental explanation in favourof a specificscientificsource. B. TheClamate of London.6 In view of this. that it 'mighthave gainedin cogencyif Con6An invaluable new body of researchis stablehad not been included'. the last two in the tik. Beckett's fifteen-volumetypescript. Such an examination. In I820'S.Constable'got hold of. Ipswich I962-68. it ambitiously embraced'The Various scape painterof increasinghis 'rangein the Branchesof Science.C1KTCS A BT J t N o 1 ADJN SC!o C!T7wt J I OT7r^TTUO JD 1 bnO 345 distortions and omissions. especiallyCarus. of nine essays on art by Edward Dayes. sky in landscape. making no attempt to deal with the relevantbut contraryevidencethat had become readilyaccessibleduringthe Igso's. the one externalcircumstance occasionallycited in connexionwith Constable's cloud sketchingwas the artist'sbriefemployment (C. The latter.intellectual and scientific journalsof the time. brieflyput forth a few objections published most of this material: John CSonto Badt'stheory. groundand the structureof the light source for we know that it was. with several other factors.crystallizedin a letter of Chemistry. AlbertMuseumLibrary. Also essential is the unrivalled archive of GrahamReynoldsspeaksof Luke Howard's photographs of Constable's worksin the Witt Climate of London. essay. togetherwith a new attempt to account for the Hampstead sky sketches or rather.volume precedingthat containingHoward's spondsto the broad focus of the little book. Constable the AaturalPainter. publishedin Tilloch's Phalosophacal jZournal (I803) togetherwith seven schematicillustrations. along with William in the sky.furthermore.Dahl and Blechen. Being an avid reader of art theory.London I 965.one of the two leading I82 I (discussed abovein sectionVI). London I8I8-20.appearingin I80I-I802. Constable.Manufacturers and Combroadenedview is most welcome. as pro. .perse. but sharing importance of them unpublished. Berlin I960. This Arts. Badt maintains. dismissing the coreof Badt'sstudy. I 96I.an occupationrequiringclose observation of the skyand weatherconditions. inviding probably'an additionalimpetus'for cludinga largenumberof cloudstudies. an investigationof the known and most probable factors involved. .A. In I820.. though it merce'. I792-93) in one of his father'swindmills. My reviewof R. tain features about Hampstead Heath (cf. Pertinentfor Constablewas a series omitsseveralequallyrelevantconsiderations. 5 Wolkenbilder undWolkengedichte derRoman. a critiqueof Badt'sinfluentialstudy is needed.7He then argueshis increasingconvictionof a indifferent to thescientiSc analyser' (p. three chapters dealing with the impact of especially in his student years. Agriculture.he remarks Thisportionof the studyislargelyconvincing. (2) his reflections on the roleofthe Nicholson's rivalffoarnal of Aatural Philosophy. Constable Howard'sessay (via Goethe'sprompting)on might conceivablyhave delved into a few Germanromanticlandscapepaintersin the volumes of the journal and come upon the 23 .can have broad implicationsconcerningthe respective roles of conceptualstimuli and immediatevisual experiencein the creativeprocessof a predominantly naturalistic painter. He pointsout that the first modern cloud classificationsappeared in Luke Howard's essay.
Constable had read or consultedThomasForster's Researches about Atmospheric Phaenomena (I8I3). thereis eonsiderable elouds. I823). Yet. The absenceof Howard'stermsis all the moreindicative in that the passagedealsexclusively with the 'naturalhistory'of clouds. pp. Unfortunately. particularly marked in the hail-squalls at this orig. They (op. While these comments reveal a time and later shows no sign that any such closenessof observationrivalling Howard's. Appendix D.perhapsfall in with a mueh strongereurrent quently diseussedreeent literature..a good eight or ten years or Published R. Thus. Howardseldomlet slip an opportunity lightness. studies.. I833) for the engraving Spring in his English Landscape. if less cloud essay.making no referenceto art. .Memoirs ed.. it remains possible. we find no firm grounds to substantiateBadt's conclusion..wherehis highly aucourant hostsfre. Even so. however. may be used of the skies. or lurid hue' (Andrew Shirley. September I8I I). cit. how often Constablestopped by the Beau. The Mezzotints of DavidLucas afterjtohn only indireetly. To begin with. spread situated. whichhe cited as 'the best book'on the subject.detaehed probably from the larger eloud. float about midwayin what may be termed ThomasForster's quitesueeessful book ( I 8 I 3.that some time beforeDecember I836.being paedia (viii. whieh. the lanesof the elouds. All know smalleloudspassingrapidlybeforethem . Constable's voluminouscorrespondence and notations so generousin references to booksand ideas that speciallyinterested him nowherementionHowardor his terminology. edn. . R. He employspurelycolloquialexpressions.9The openingchapter would have exposed him to Howard'scloud categories. H. I 807) and Nieholson's Xournal alwaysthe forerunners of bad weather..346 LOUIS HAWES 'decisive'influence from Howard on the artist.and from their Howard's treatise(no. 'The naturalhistory if the expression I836. such as 'the lanes of the clouds'.. a aequaintanee with Howard'selassiISeations. Oxford I930. whieh are so Constable. V9henwe examine the available evidence. Leslie.eausesthem to move with greater to disseminatehis nomenelature. edn. awareness had a decisive effect on his they nowhere presupposecontact with his approach to skysketching. In any of wind.8 We do know.or 'messengers' (as they are 'calledby windmillersand sailors') . more before eommencing his Hampstead Constable. monts' town house during the first two These floating mueh nearer the earth. wrltlngs.theyappearas "darks".A. whieh as well as their eomparative ease.we cannot tell just when he firstencountered such literature.. . C. but in passing likelihoodthat Constableaequireda general the shadowedparts they assume a grey. time of year.makingit almosteertainthat Sir opaque patehes. J. I843.duringthe first or especiallythe second decade of the century.if only by hearsay. may deeades. eited above. 257-8. Howard's work to a still wider audienee In passingover the bright partsof the large duringthe teens. . London I95I. 254). are only GeorgeBeaumont possessed a eopy.. and from being so enl.are almostuniformly in shadow.when the meteorologist drew occasional discussionin periodicals. henee they are ealled by windrevised version of llis essay in Rees's Cyclo.is this: the eloudsaceumulate in * a . concluding that the cloud studies'must'and 'could only' be attributable to the impact of the former. he may very well have gained some awareness of Howard.issuing a rapidity.millers and sailors "meassengers". xvi) had a frontispieee loftiness seemto moveby slowly:immediately portrait engraving after a sketeh by Lady upon these large elouds appear numerous Beaumont. 9 Letterto GeorgeConstable. Moreover.I 2 December 8 The paragraph deserves quotingnearlyin of theLifeofjtohn full. however. In addition. the one with very large and dense masses. if pale. True. This is likewise the case with the only commentaryon clouds that Constable intendedfor publication:the interesting'letterpress' (c. Mayne. I8I5. his work throughoutthis p.
Besides. Granted.. there is one possible exception: the deftly sketched study of cirrus clouds in the Victoria and Albert Museum (P1. made the valuable contributionof formulatingcategories that were more precisethan earlierdescriptions. I49). the terms cirrus. similarly. conceptual sources affect an artist's 10It is true that by the I8IO'S. then one may associate the I822 studies with current meteorological terminology. that he began dipping into such writingsonly in the I830'S. and acquired such colloquial names as 'cats' or 'mare's tails'. to be sure. R. though not necessarily with Howard's text specifically. 54.A.. is 'written over an earlier inscription in ink (rendering it nearly illegible) which appears to have been written by the artist and perhaps reads cirrus' (op. . when he acknowledgedthat the natural scienceshad become his major side interest. assumesthat directcontactwith Howard'stext was made in I 820/ I . cirrocumulus clouds were popularlyknown as 'flocks'. conceptual influence of just the sort affordedby Howard'sessay.'. they formed part of a consistentand comprehensive theoretical system concerning the physical laws governing the formation and transformationof clouds. Even if this should prove true.CONSTABLE'SSKY SKETCHES 347 likely. Badt.10 A more seriousand challengeablepoint is Badt's central argumentthat Constable wouldnot have sketcheda seriesof skiesunlessfirststimulatedby an external.unsupportedby existing evidenee. He did not arriveat this point . or the mariner. 0p. were gaining wider currency in London (often independent of Hoxvard). Does Badt imply that the diversity of clouds had not been much noticed until the advent of Howard'sprecise classifications?The skies of many seventeenth-century Dutch landscapesas well as a numberof convincingcloud studiesdatingbeforeI800 (cited below) shouldsufficeto dispelthis notion. to eonneeteertainappearanees of the sky with certain approachingchanges' (I807 versionof his essay. has learned. non-visual. Observational experienceby itself. articulate concept. Graham Reynolds points out that the present inscription. by paintinghis way to it. 5IC).while the cumulo-stratus varietywere called 'anvil'clouds. on the other hand. . most important for science.'ll We mightfirstaskwhy Howard'sverbaldescriptions shouldbe expectedto offerso essentiala stimulusfor Constable.cannot fosternew awareness. such as shepherds.Rees's Cyclopaedia. Badt'smain contentionthat the latter providedthemotivatingfactorremains pure assumption.we knowfromcommonknowledge that what Howard termed cirrus clouds had long caught men's eyes. who without troubling his head about things. concedingthat the modern meteorologist is 'still obliged to yield the palm in the seience of prognosties to the shepherd. p. and not added later.l2 Howard. stratus and so on. had for eenturieskept a close wateh on the sky in order to make short-range weather predietions. the ploughman. cit. by traditionand experience. * * *\ Vlll) . 'Only an external stimulus can explain why Constablesuddenlyfelt an urge to paint a massof cloud studies all at once. seamen and windmillers. while they are conspicuously absent from the weather data on the backs of the sky studies. cit. and. Moreover. Once thisis admitted. p. Howard himselfpaid tributeto them. .this was a significantadvancein the development of meteorologyas a science. but was guidedto it intellectually fromthe outside. he assumes.. 12 Certainlaymen. .making it quite plausible that Constable heard them on occasion.and cumulusformswere occasionallycalled 'mushroom' clouds. essential is a guiding. 'Painted byJohn Constable. Doubtless. but its indispensibility for Constableis not at all apparent. If the word is cirrus. .it is obviousthat the stimuluscan only have comefromLukeHoward.
Constablehad no knowledge of this study. Indeed. Cit. I965.59). 15 Also relevanthere are two literaryreferences to cloud studiesby Willem van de Velde the Younger(I633-I707). Doubtless.intensiveobservation and repeatedsketchingof skies appear to have been the most potent factors operative. 0fi. The first appearsin William Gilpin'swidely read 7:hree Essayson Picturesque. 383. Desportes(I66I-I743).. I 690'S (Manufaeture Nationalede Sevres. Constablewas on friendlyterms with him by I 82 I (ef. 380). One of thesefew is a study traditionallyascribedto ClaudeLorrain(P1.. and eopiedone of his Claude drawings.. Its pre-Howardian date arguesthat sucha studydoesnot presuppose a scientific knowledge of clouds. However. claimingit is essentially a decorativeexerciseratherthan a 'true' study of clouds. and had oftencarriedhim out in his boat. p.348 LOUIS HAWES choice and attitude towardssubjectmatter and objects. I. 2I4). his exampleand severalothersdiscussedbelow refuteany assumptionthat a foreknowledge of Howard'sclassifications was necessaryfor subtly observing and effectivelyrepresenting variedcloudforms. this study representsa thoroughly plausible spread-outcumulus cloud mass. iv.' (Nieholson's iournal . a pupil of Claude.as he emphasizedin an artiele of I8I0.-F.l3 We shall see that this was also the case with Constable. an old Thames-waterman was alive. Not many yearsago.. 'Nobodywas better acquainted with the effiects of sky. Knoedler. had alreadyby the early I 780'spaintedseveralsuperbsky sketchesin oil which are empiricallyconvincing.sId). both up and down 13 Even Howard's analytieal deseriptions derivefroma purelyempirieal method. Vi. aetive e. whowasnotablygenerous in giving artistsaeeessto his superbdrawing eolleetion.even though he could not have utilized at that time any scientificcloud analysescomparableto Howard's. althoughonly a very few receiveany notice in Badt'sbook. letter to Fisher.. The study reproduced above once belonged to Sir ThomasLawrenee..reprodueed in Mastersof the LoadedBrush.14the importanceof which Badt plays down.. asserting that the fundamental basisfor all his findings was 'longeontinued and attentiveobservation ofthe phenomena . p.. I966. who rememberedhim well. P1.iii. who spentthe latter halfofhis life in London.. CLOUD STUDIES BEFORE CONSTABLE A considerable numberof pre-I800studiesof cloudsexist. This reflectshis assumptionthat the latter was not really possible before Howard. Valenciennes. II). inJuly I825. F. usually dated e. He has also publishedanother cloud study on blue paper. In any case.Landscape (I792).New York I 967. I650 (MasterDrawings. P1. . To my eye. in fact. for one.than the youngerVenderveldt. Grimaldi. Rather.Studyof Trees(Mellon Colleetion).I was unableto learn whether this eloud study had entered his eolleetionby I 82 I .nor studiedthem with moreattention. eonvineingly assigning it to Angelueeio. particularly with respectto conscientious studiesmade fromnature.workinge. p.but they can hardly play as direct and far-reaching a role as visual sources --nature and art in inspiringthe actual physicalappearance of an artist'swork. 15 The sameappliesto a precociously early sketchin oil by A.except that thereare a numberof importantsupplementary factorsand circumstances (overlooked by Badt) which we eitherknowor can reasonably claimhad some bearingon his sky sketching. 4 AugustI82 I ). the cloud is hardly less classifiablethan the clouds in Constable'sstudies. I645-50 (ibid. 14 Mareel Rothlisbergerpersuasivelyat- tributes this drawing (and about seventy otherson blue paper)to an unknownartistin the eireleof G.
l7 Constable had met Lesliein the I 8 IO'S. the very time he was engagedin his firstextendedphaseof skying. London I 860. s2a).. 34. . 2I. which is strange. Philadelphia (no. Althoughnot as stylizedas someof his 20 An equally importantsky study (again unmentioned by Badt) is John Robert Cozens'sTheCloud. p. It would have reaffirmedhis already aroused interestin the sky. apparentlybased on first-handobservation. knew 'a man who in his youth. was Alexander Cozens (I7I7-86). I8 March I964). 7:heCloud. particularly J. becomingwell acquaintedwith him by the early twenties. mentionedbelow in sectionII. . at least one comparatively naturalistic study.and perhaps 18 Letter to Fisher. Constable speaks I760'S. some of the originalstudies.cit. which Constablecould have seen in April I820. sIe.. when it was viewable for a few days at Sotheby's. and this man told him that Vanderveldeused to go to HampsteadHeath to studyskies'. but arbitrary cloud effectsconjuredup in the studio. P1. B. .'ls Constable'salmost identical term 'skying' a word not in general use suggestssomeawareness of his predecessor's activityand quaintphraseology. a scale-giving strip of dark ground stretches across the bottom. 3 November I82I. 19Reproducedby Oppe. Mr.cit. op. These expeditions Vanderveldt called .he encountered this passagein the later I 790'S. T.l8 He mightwell have heardthis reportof his Dutch precursor by the time he had begun his own series. Cozensto WilliamHoareof Bath.however. jigsaw puzzle-like shapesin the father'srendering. 84. A Poem'.p. Very likely. had known WilliamVandervelde. c. The first English artist to draw skies..reproduced.p.A J%ew Method of Assisting theInvention in Drawing Original Compositions of Landscape (I785-86)..CONSTABLE'SSKY SKETGHES 349 the river. To my knowledge. op.are softerand more natural..op.. The cloud forms.Sr. datable I803. vigorously paintedskiesareseveralfreecopies after Van der Velde the Younger. datingfrom a generationbeforeHoward.to studythe appearances of the sky. . For the most part.. Vanderveldttookwith him large sheetsof blue paper. 86 I ) or another recentlyin the MaasGallery. . The latter.and even refersto a visit from Leslie.including his most famous one.go back to the R.London(P1.. at Hampsteadin October I82I. 21 The idea for such a series. late I 770'S-80'S (Oppe Collection.21 Badt does not mention these. cit.cit.as Badtrightlyobserves in his one passingcommenton them. such as the one in theJohnson Collection.has survived: a subtlynuancedwash drawingin the Oppe Collection(P1. when he was mostunder the spell of the Picturesqueand apt to read such a source --or hear about it from one of his early 'advisors'. Still more applicableto Constable'sHampsteadstudiesis C. A revealingfact is that the earliestoil sketches by Constable which exhibit prominent. Smith or Sir GeorgeBeaumont (a friend of Gilpin).probably duringthe early I8IO'S (Pls.as Constablecopied the whole series. Beckett. unlike the hard-edge. R. As in the father's monochrome drawingof the same title. P1.op. If formsa partof the Mackworth PraedAlbum. . On the otherhand.I46 in Sotheby'sCatalogue. in fact. 17 Autobiographical Refections.5I b). See Oppe. his survivingsky drawings. pl I22.48). looks somewhatlike a Cliffiord Still canvasturnedon its side.l9 are not actual studies from nature. Leslie's remarkthat Robert Smirke. going a skoying. 16 Notes to 'On Landscape Painting. according to drafts of letters from of the visit as 'not long ago'. ibid.which he would markall over with black and white. 20 Cozensis also noted for the unprecedented seriesof twenty engravedskies accompanying his extraordinary treatise. so far as we know. 46.. none of theseskydrawings hasyet cometo light...
in ArtandIllusion. the primaryconcernis not verisimilitudebut a varietyof strikinglight and dark patternsthat an artist can plausiblyeffiectin terms of general cloud imagery. creasehis awareness throughvisualclassifica.I 4-I ) .52C) are. I78).which should in.24 The wash drawing.studiesare indeedthe polaropposites of such stable 'articulates and revises'these samples didacticprints. As such.that the realstudentwill acquirehis I8I2-I4 (see section II).He omitted them from his relevance so late as I 82 I . The pairs alternatebetweenthoseshowinglight cloudsagainsta darkskyand vice versa. they could not very well have fostered in Constablea subtler. unlikehis sensitive threefurther clouddrawings ( I 939-8.The same holds skies provided Constable with 'a series of for the equally generic illustrationswhich possibilities. As such. The other examplesare pencil drawings. A conditioningfactor is their arrangementin varied pairs comprising two main groups:half cloudy and mostlycloudy skies.albeit not a seriesin the strictsense. earlierones.s2d) is one of three studiescontainedin two unpublished.p. whose work Wright knew to some extent. However.differing in kind York I960. lii).decidedly stereotyped diagrams. intact sketchbook Howard'sengravedillustrations of the basic used in Italy (dated I 774) which contains cloud types (P1.and that the more superficialare passing influence. . Yet. longer have operated as an isolable con.. ditioningfactorin the earlytwenties. presumablyit would no liable to be led into errorby them' (op. Furthermore. Constable's tion' (p. while Cozens'ssystem of grouping the series did not influence Constable'sapproach. fromConstable's cloud studies. 22 E. True to his generalpoint of view. brieflycommentson thesecopies.and could very well have helped to triggerConstable's decisionto makea whole collectionof studies. though he has never previouslybeen cited in this context. the idea of a repertoryof skies is in itself suggestive. H. The wash drawingreproduced(P1.contributedto the particularized perception one stressingthe role of 'schemata'in the and naturalistic form-language embodiedin creative process he asserts that Cozens's the youngerartist'seffiorts.truerperception of clouds.they couldhardlyhave I46-8).I8I5.Cozens'sengravedskiesappearto deriveas muchfrommemory as from observation.there 23 I should add at this point that Luke existsa third unpublished.New 'schemata' in the truesense. Their possible book. Constable'ssky knowledgein a more solid manner by the style (in all media)from I8I5 on showsthat observationof nature.22We thereforeinclude this unique sky 'sampler'as anotherstimulus that probablyat least reinforcedhis growing conviction about the radical importanceof the sky in landscape. cit.he adds that Con.falling roughly mid-way between 'schemata'and empirical studies. 'satisfiedboth by reflectionand eximpactis inferableonly in a few drawingsof perience.ThomasForster includedin the second. without the aid of he had fully digested and transformed this drawings. within each pair. on his Italianjourney.of schemata. cit.23 Another eminent eighteenth-century British artist who made a few sky sketchesis Joseph Wright (I734-97).35o LOUIS HAWES sky drawings. ) .includinghis reproducingthree for the first time (Pls. Gombrich. intact sketchbooks (both in the MetropolitanMuseum)which Wrightusedin I 774-75. 24 In the British Museum PrintRoom. washstudies. I would tend to questionwhether could be potentiallymisleading in theiroverCozens's engravings had any meaningful simplifications. Thus. the clouds differ chiefly according to whether they are lighter at the top or at the bottom.edition of his book (op. the painterwas enoughinterested in the engravings to copy them (if somewhat freely).portrayingclouds in a manner close to Cozens. Luke Howardhimselfcame 'beyondrecognition' in his Hampstead cloud to suspect that his schematic cloud prints studies.
eloud. Moreover.unconlposed appearance of actual clouds. 'I sat next of the sky in landseape.25 The talented amateur. he may have heard about them. 27 One continentalartist.possibly saw. Turner began sketchingclouds as early as c. this seemsunlikely.immortalized in the notedsonnet ii. I964. A number of his to Turner. p.utterly uncomposednotation of a few drifting clouds (P1. John Gage has statedin conversation that the many later exampleswere made independentlyof the new science. are empiricallyaccountable-the fruitof intensiveand searching first-handscrutinyand persistentsketchingof cloudy skies.Op. As Ian Flemming-Williams pointedout in a recentarticle. the eminent patron. While the majorityof his morethan five hundredstudiesare very modest 'pencil roughs'.' Not 26 'Dr. and exhibitsno less meteorological truthfulness than Luke Howard's studies. 27 Another English amateur should be Constable. None receive any notice from Badt. Constable's early English . Among his one hundred and twenty-four open-airoil studiesin the Louvre. Mr. West and works prominentlyfeature the sky. His approach. Sir George. William Crotch (I775-I847).CONSTABLE'S SKYSKETCHES 35I however. Cit. when the two sat together. R.contraryto generalopinion.like Constable's.who twiee quoted from it in the cited here. B. althoughnone of his workwas knownto Constable. I IO). and most certainlysaw a numberof his drawings.approaches morethe momentary. also practised cloud sketchingbefore I800. Landscape. Of the his teacher's eonvictions abouttheimportanee formeroccasion. We find at least thirty studies (none published) datable before I 800. B. Turner'sstudies.Maria Wordsworth. pp. Sir George encountersbetween Constable and Turner had studiedwith AlexanderCozensat Eton beforeI 82I: the academydinnersof I 8 I 3 and (I766-72) and may have pieked up some of I820. I 802.althougha quartercenturyearlier.but considering Turner's furtiveness abouthis sketchbooks. and fix it in that gloriousshape. deservesmentionhere. dating from I799. six are essentially sky sketches. no.to whom it was presentedby Bicknell. R. I alwaysexpectedto find him is virtuallya eloudseape one that Constable what I did he is uncouthbut has a wonder. I965. This is the painting whieh ful rangeof mind' (letterto his fiancee. this was a favouritepoem with clix. a number are stunning water colours. Lawrence-I was a good deal entertained leastone.26 Constablebecamewell acquaintedwith Crotchsoon afterthe latter came to London around I806. s2b). Whether Constablesaw any of Turner'sstudiesis not known. accidental look of fast-changing clouds. as seen in a deftly brushed. which could almost be mistakenfor a Constablecloud drawingof a decadeor so later. Dr.I O).Constable wrote. Turner (I775-I85I) also precededConstablein sky sketching.is distinguishable from 25 We know of at least two conversational mentor and subsequentfriend. William Crotch.Valenciennes(I7so-I8Ig). and opposite Mr..datingfrom I 778 to I 786.' rhe Connoisseur. surprisingly.however. Yet. Beckettowns a pencil study by him. Beaumont ( I 753-I827). near Coleorton (c. 639. though perhaps secondarilyinspired by some awarenessof earlier sky sketches. once againprecludingany influencefrommeteorological science. I796. I 833. The acquaintancenever (eomposed I 8 I I ) beginning. 28-32. Sir George 'Introduction' to his book of mezzotints. Cloud with Turner. and at Hill.30June I8I3.'Praisedbe the Art whose subtile power eould stay / Yon warmedinto a friendship. Beckett. Etude decielcharge' denuages (P1.s3a) showsthe surprising extentto whichValenciennescould capturethe formless.
have disappearedalong with most of the artist'sdrawingsbeforeI800.though none are mentionedby Badt. like Turner. Valenciennes'ssky sketchesare the most impressiveof any both in visual truth and aesthetic appeal-before Constable's. Oxford I 930. I 5 I . Though labelled a landscape. I776?. Referringto a 'blot' of this mill by Constable. and help give a sense of scale. The other study (P1. moreover. s3d) appearsin a unique. Lucas's remarkconfirmsthe view that Constable'sinterest in clouds first developed in conjunctionwith his early days spent as a windmiller an important environmentalcircumstancewe cannot discount the way Badt does. ing' horizon. The rather distant viewpoint and the blank zone at the bottom (sea?) recall some of Turner'searly sky drawings. as both were working in Rome and breezy.28 The Hampstead skies seem like close-up studies. similarly utilizing mind hereis Thomas Jones ( I 742-I 803) .29And once again. The Published overlappedbetween I0 October I 777 and Mezzatintsof David Lucasafterffohn Constable. In that case. s3c). 31 This sketchportrays cloudsexclusively. the device of a dark.concerningthe artist'syouthfulexperienceof workingin his father's windmill on East Bergholt Common. PeterNicholsonof New York. Lande sousun grandciel College for kindly informing me of the where(RF 2980) bearsa close family resemblance abouts ofthis important unpublished material. cloud-richsky completelydominates its environs in I 778 and late I 782. p.A. the beholder feels practically immersedin them. II September I778. One is pastedon the backcoverof a sketchbook in the Louvre (P1. meteorologyplayed no part.began sky sketchingalreadyby the end of the eighteenthcentury. 31 I thank ProfessorCharles Rhyne of Reed 29 Another study. Cozens's TheCloud.. werein Naplesduringmuchof I 779. II. in the National Museumof Wales. Jones and Valenciennesmay 30 Undated letter (after I837) to a Mr. R. the gifted mezzo-tinterof Constable's works. then Constable. makingit the only known 'pure' cloud study datable before I8XI. But even if actualsketches were not made then. they both R. All the same. our attention. during the early I790'S. The earliestexamplesknown to me so far are two unpublishedchalk drawingson blue paper. undiffierentiatedslice of for example. See. Direct contact between the two painters was Cardiff. c. CONSTABLE S SKY SKETCHES BEFORE I8XI There exista numberof skysketches by Constable datingfromthe firsttwo decades. his masterfulstudy. which Hogarth.Lucas writes that the artist 'workedas a Millar severalYearsand here told me that he made his earliest studies and most useful observations on atmosphericeffects'. Andrew Shirley.a significantdegree of 28 The British artist who most comes to to J. CONSTABLE S EARLY EXPERIENCE AS A WINDMILLER A significantbut apparentlylittle known reference never cited in the present context is a statementby David Lucas. . the studies (doubtlessin pencil). stylistically datableat about I806.352 LOUIS HAWES Constable's(in his maturity)by the comparatively panoramicview. Extensive sloping ground to establish a kind of 'orientLandscape (probablythe Vale of Pencerrig). Moreover. have met duringtheir stays in Rome. III.as the usage possiblysuggests. its possible. now ownedby Mr. extra illustratedcopy of the first edition of Leslie'sbiographyof Constable( I 843).30 If the term 'studies'means actual drawn ratherthan observational studies.beforehe could ever have heardof Howard.
I650. Collection Curtis 0. 344) d--Unknownartist.b AlexanderCozens CollectionDenys and A a-Constable. 348) NewRochelle. e 17 (P .StudyofCloads. Study of Clouds. 250) (p. Study o Rlictoria and Albert M c Constable. Baer (p. London. c. Victoria and Albert Museum (no.c. I822.
Rogers Fund (. 85 (p. iv (p. 350) . 7Cilloch's Phalosophical Magazine. Courtauld Gallery. Study of Clouds. pl. I 774-75. Basic (loud lypes. N a Constable. Lon don. Turner Bequest! xxx p.35I) b e a Howard. Copy aftes Cozens. c. I 803. I 8 I 2-I 4. Lon don. Carrus Cumulus. Study oJ Clouds. Lee Co]lection (p. I 796.d Joseph Wright.. 350) c Luke of Art. xvii. British WIusoum.c. 3493 b Turner. Aimbus.
c.a-Valenciennes. Etudede ciel charge' de nuages. 35I) I778-82. 352) . 72 ) (p. Paris. I 8 Nicholson(p. c. 8700) (p. I 2 I. 353) c Constable. I 8 I 3.og I 5) (p.F. Louvre (R. 352) d Constable. Paris. p. Louvre b Constable. Studyof Clouds. Study of Sky. c. Lo (no. (R-F. Study of Clouds. I806.
England. c. CollectionH. c. J%ear S schen Staatsgemaldes . Morning Cloud before the^Sun. c Constable City Art Gal d-Constable. e Constable. H. . DedhamVale. TwilightSky overa Heath. . C. Tate b Constable. FurnersGreen. 2663) (p. Norwlch CollectlonSlr Edmund Bacon (p 353) . C I8I2. 353) I806-9._ a-Gonstable. London. Gallery (no. Ingram (p. 354) I806.
As in all the is the diffierentiation artist'spre-I82I oil studies of clouds. as does the study reproduced(P1. weirdly shaped cloud mass. though it is an unobtrusiveintrusion. 965.for all his commitmentto naturalness.painterlyterms). I 8 I 2. is Windmill p. datable I806-I809. Apollo.32A few hint that Constablehad by then encounteredCozens'ssky samples. c.however. a sweeping strip of ground stretches acrossthe bottomeighthof the sketch. the most dramaticearly study. A definitelydatable example is the small but very confidentlysketched cloud. 33 See the fourth sky in Cozens's series.s4d). in basic cloud type rather than style of execution.has indulged in the age-old game of finding a face in the sky. I5).. Also interestingis the comparativelyrich chromatic range. all are reproduced in I84I Reynolds's catalogue. 8).s3b). 47. in additionto the usualblackand white. cit. upper middle portion of this protean cloud. profileof a man'shead. mountainous . 35 See Constable's copy of the sixth sky in Cozens's set (P1.35This is the only oil study. strikinglysilhouettedagainst a luminous sky. I32). Constable representsthe sky entirely in his own terms. The image is too well defined-to be coincidental. 36 and 39 of the sketchbook and pp.just enoughto establishan horizonand offer some sense of scale as was earlier the case with Cozens'sand Valenciennes's studies (except that they utilize a more dynamic. mouth downcast.s3b). 47 of the I8I4 sketchbook.. which he subtly suggestsin the less shadowy. A considerable in that of I8I4 (V. and emphatic contours. lookingsternlyto the Therewe discovera naturalistic right. is Alorning Clouds C. 52 and 8I ofthe sketchbook. horizon) Another little-knownbut noteworthyearly sky sketch is EarlyMorning (P1.includingthe use of blue chalktogetherwith a few faint touchesof red ochre and yellow. where a possibleconnexionwith Cozenssuggestsitself. however. featuringa flat. I 806 and I 8I 2.CONSTABLE'SSKY SKETCHES 353 illusionism is evident.consistentwith the low angle illumination. From I8I5 on. . of. exhibitprominentand effectivelymanaged skiesin a way that is appreciablynew as regardshis drawings. that is. Again we meet an arrestingvariety of clouds floating at levels. s4b). Constable's eopy of this sky is reproduced by Gombrich. B. I89-95. I48. lXXXi. but here they are chargedwith vivid highlight and shadow diffierent contrasts. c.33 Especiallyrelevanthere are severaloil studiesplausiblydatable between before theSun(P1. & A. One of the earliest stylisticallyvery close to two sky sketchesin Sir EdmundBacon'scollection. Beckett. as well as numberof the drawingsin the I 8I 3 sketchbook. with its unusual semi-schematized cloud formation bya River. I809. But what is most unusual here is that Constable.I 34 'Constable at Epsom'. This is also true of TwilightSkyovera Heath(P1. featuring a generically similar vertical cloud pile similar.and not at all the raisond'etreof the cloud (in contrastto Mantegna'sintriguingdoubleimage clouds). and vaguely recalling certain of Cozens's sky models in a generalway (in looser. and recentlypublishedby R. already surpassingthat achieved in Turner's sky sketchesof this time.34Alreadyskilful of variouscloud formsat severalaltitudes. from the pocketsketchbook pencil study of a toweringcumulo-nimbus ConstableusedfromJuly to OctoberI8I 3 (P1. A landscape sketch in which 32 I8I3 the sky recalls Cozens in a general way. No. pp. So dramatica cloud pile will seldom be met with in the artist'smany later studies. P1. See particularly pp.
sketch. The picture is mistitled 'View near to Cozens cf. irregularrent near the centre. I 809.mature sky style. It is a sky emphatically overcastby a heavy. 36 Among those not mentioned are a numConstable's early work (through I8I 5). Land. We should also take account of the revealingextent to which Constable and finishedpicturesbeforeI 82I . datable 37 The same can be said of the sky in the partly on the basis of its fully C. Bacon Collection. has been strangely neglected by the choice of such a sky 'motif' that the posConstable scholars. also preStoke-by-Xayland The originalversionof J\fear sents a subtly painted sky filled with billowy cumulusclouds. Lastly. While the sketchy style assertsthe medium.Barges Park(I8I6-I7) in the National Gallery. N. the six skies (nos. which exhibitsa commonplace Cornfield memorablechiefly by its dramaticyet fully plausible sky.it none the less indicates the appreciablefacility in cloud painting that Constable could achieve by the end of the firstdecade. for Constable employs it in an nexion with his forthcoming catalogue of expressive way wholly diffierentfrom Cozens. equally advanced contemporary work. we meet in the accomVale(P1. This groupby no meanscomprises but shouldsuiciently indicate the I sky sketches. Stormy (E. L. a sensitivelyrendered plished little 'finishedsketch'. & A. We may speaksimilarlyabout with some of his finishedlandscapesof the followingdecade. For brevity'ssake.panoramiccloudare distinguishable studiesas well as with some of scape. a trait they share with Valenciennes's an exhaustive Turner'searlyskydrarings. such as Cloudy Sunset The well-known version in the London Dalton.36 pre-I82 list of Constable's artist'sinterestand skillin sketchingcloudsin oil at least a dozenyearsbefore he commencedhis Hampsteadseries. sombrelycontrastingwith a bright. sketches appliedthisinterestin his landscape Badt devotesvery little attentionto this build-upperiod. I 809 and I 82 I. I82I-22.whereinthe cloudsare arbitrarily of the artist'sskiesat that time. it is merely in Munich. I8I5-I6. they from the latter by their more spacious. Clouds Scudding is a slightly varied studio replica. I shall mentiononly fourinstancesin which cloudy skiesform not only a prominentpart of the landscapebut exhibit a notable degree of naturalness.and worksfromthe seconddecade.Dedham shapes.ssa). alreadyimpressivein its capturingof the ever-varying density and tonality of several cloud formationsfloating at differentlevels. No. I 8 I 2 (V.merelyciting a few handled. Dorchester-on-Thames) or National Gallery (no. that it is the original version. As early as c. I o4). s4a). inpenetrablecloudbank (a 'cumulo-nimbus arcus'). . below scape 39 This passing preference for a bright rent on extended loan to the Birmingham Art in the sky again may possibly owe something preGallery). Charles Rhyne.offers a cheerful morning sky charged with the fast-moving. I806.visuallymagneticarea recallsa similarsky-rentin the famous c. of the cloudscape. However.39 ontheStour. W.354 LOUIS HAWES While these studiesanticipatethe sky and tree-topsketchesof I82I. and convincingly argues Sky (H.such as Landscape farmscene made (P1. the clouds appear utterly unschematicand wholelyinspiredby observation.37 (P1. datable c. Although its illusionismcannot quite vie with that of the later versionin London.sible debt lies. senting an irregular opening near the centre 38 This version in the Haus der Kunst. Colquhoun. overcastsky. 2649) he demonstrates (Bristol Art Gallery). I0-I5) Arundel'. is the ber whose style points to some year between first to deal with it. Charlotte. This luminous. Flatford (A. the celebrated Wivenhoe Washington. This is implyingthat they are representative far fromtrue. in con..s4e))38c. Carolina). I809.
41 HeprobablyhadinmindTurner's Benth Plague of Egypt. fugitivesky. rather laboured appearance.in the main. that Constable's interestand skillin paintingskieshad been developingfor sometime. Callcott.the fact of the artist'slong-activespecialconcernwith the sky (includingconsiderable pre-I8xI cloud sketching)underminesthe argumentthat a recent encounter with meteorologypromptedthe series.a separatearticlewould be neededto do anyjustice to this importanttendency. an increasedprominence (and often an increasedplausibility)in the skies. expressively.Francia.Collins. IV. 40 The Hay Wain in the autumn of a number of the larger and more 'careful'. threeor fouryearsbeforeConstable.. Of course. I800-20 Constablerather extensivelyretouched I82I (and perhapslater). TheWhite Horse (I8I9). From Constable's point of view.such as Fishermen ona Lee Shore inSqually Weather (I802) or Calais Pier(I803). Witness.they are revolutionary in at least two senses: (I) their intimate.this is true of Crome. We may best view the latter as the climax. P. toningdown the highlightsin particular (letter to Fisher.which had been growingover the precedingtwo decades. Of coursethe I8XI-22 studiesrepresent a markedly intensifiedeffort at masteringsky phenomena. he was not entirelysuccessful with the cloudysky. Here. cit. The great vice of the . TURNER S SKIES: I8Iv-I9 Even a cursorysurvey of landscapepainting in Britainduring the years will reveal.and several othersbesidesConstableand Turner.the draluaticeffect of the skiesin various early Turners was often at the expense of naturalness. did he fully mastercloudson a large scale. Turner'sexhibited oil paintingsfrom the very beginning included skies that were often impressivenot only in their prominencebut also in the way they function compositionally and above all. by and large.However. 23 October. which most generatesthe mood of freshness and airinesssuffusingthe whole scene. 82-83).4l Turner himself. Beckett. however. pure cloud studiesof I822 begin to approach the scaleof the sky portionsof his largelandscapes. when he wrote in May of that year: 'There is room enough for a naturalpainture. of a preoccupation with the sky and its role in landscape. Interestingly.40 We see. Nasmyth. and in thin water colour. so endowedwith a senseof flux. close-upformat. especially those including nearbytree tops. we can only point to a few highlightsin the case of Turner. the Fifth Plague of Egypt (I800).as he is the only one who. Not until TheHay Wain(I8XI). then. In varyingdegrees.for example. and it is this wonderfullyvivid. at least within the limitsof the modestlyscaledcanvasesto which he confined himselfuntil I8I9.made a whole seriesof sky studiesin a shortperiod albeit very roughsketches.De Wint. When he attemptedhis first 'six footer'. albeit a prolificone. (X)their expressiveness. pp.CONSTABLE'SSKY SKETCHES 355 fluffy remnantsof formercumulus clouds. Moreover. which has a heavy. These four worksdemonstrate how effectivea sky-painterConstablehad become by the mid I8IO'S. or some of the early seascapesand coastalscenes. op. One wonders whetherits magnificentsky may have benefited at this time from the enhancedfacility and deepenedexpressive powerresulting from his firstintensive skysketching. a popular favouriteat the Academyexhibitionof I802.CopleyFielding. contributingmost vitally to the intended mood of the scene.who is speciallyrelevant.
as in Abingdon (I809). he felt a need to fill a whole sketchbook with a seriesor 'repertory' of sixty-fiveskies. 28-X9.the emphasis is on light and colour. indeed.pictoriallyself-sufficient skyscapes. offiers probablythe most illusionisticsky found in any of Turner'slarge pictures.45I know of no comparablesequencesby any earlieror contemporary artists.356 LOUIS HAWES between I806 and the late I820'S. Of particularinterest are two sequencesof studies. sketchedin quick succession. he rathercloselyapproximated natural appearances.and may well have had a certainimpact on Corlstable. showingsix phases of a passingrain cloud. tendedto employlessdramatized skies. in I8I7 or early I8I8.43 Several. and/orhis tendencyto paint morefullbodied. ). 46A possiblereason for this was his use.providinga perpetualperformance of endlesslyvaried.. 32).44the artisthas perfectlycapturedthe soft textureand hoveringlightnessof a cloud. is the delicatelyrenderedcumuluscloud on page xxv. deftly sketchedimpressions of sunriseand sunsetskies (P1.p. One is at the very beginningof the sketchbook(pp.the groundformsdominating our attention. M. op. on the other hand. AlthoughTurnermade occasionalsleystudiesthroughoutmost of his life. 45 I hope to reproduce thesesequences in a futurearticleon Turner's skysketches.46But did Constable have any awarenessof these studiesor any others by Turner? As alreadystated. -7).ssb). & will have its day but Truth(in all things)only will last and can havejust claims on posterity'(Beckett. 42 T.42Many of these are very slight and free colour washes.of the somewhat'slower'medium of oil. Here for once.despite his at least equal interestin weatheras a dynamicprocess. 44 None of the othersketches exclusively of cloudsare nearlyas illusionistic.'finished'study. ii.. 38-40) exhibits three stagesof either a sunriseor sunset. Turner.British Museum PrintRoom. the latter'shabitual reluctanceto sllow his sketchbooks to anyone makes it unlikelythat Constableevercaughta glimpseof them. enchantingeffects. The latterare often sparse. normally. B.the skyis a comparatively secondary element. This work. LondonI966. exhibitedat the Royal Academy in I8I8 (P1. well reproducedin colour in Martin Butlin's 7Murner Watercolours (pl. again painted on slightlydamp paper. At times. an attempt at something beyond the truth Fashion always had. W. The other (pp. One finds Turner applyinghis heightenedpowersof sky painting in the present day is bravura. 43 Two typicalexamples are reproduced in JackLindsay's i. are more controlled. is Raby Castle. when they were table mates. One of the relativelyfew landscapeswhereinthe sky is both as commanding and as persuasively naturalas one by Constable.with certainobviousexceptions. invitinghim to considerthe sky on a more monumentalscale and to give it still greaterluminosity.Correspondence.wordof such a collectionof skiesmighthave reachedhim possiblyevenfromTurnerhimself during their second known extendedconversation at the academy dinner of I820. carriedout shortlybeforehe painted this landscape. Unlike Constable's studies.in which the roughlyhinted cloudshave little of the veracityof Constable's studies. Pls. . clviii. However. It is as thoughTurnerviewedthe sky as a sort of infinitecolour-lightorgan.and seem selectedmainly to diversifythe light effiect. But in this and similarworks.I964.as well as to provideaccentsof warmcolour. I suspectthat its illusionismowes somethingto Turner'sonly intensivephase of sky sketching.not even Constable. ssd).ratherthan clouds. cit. Anotherexceptional.
c. c. Study of a sunset sky. I 8 I 5. London. Hampstead Heath c. RabyCastle. Museum(p. 4o (p. Tate Galler a-Constable. BritishMuseum. Baltimore The Walters Art Gallery(p.clviii. Manchester. Landscape with C.b Turner. p. I 8 I 7. 356) c-Turner. 360) I . Turner Bequest.City Art Gallery (no.I 6.or?/ield. I408) (p. I 8 I 8. 354) cl-Turner. 356) e-Constable.I 8.
two 49 The full title reads:Entrance of theMeuse: of them touchingon the sky. whose well-known competitiveness of 7. might he also have felt a 48 Another notable example aXording a furtherchallengeto outdo his friendlyrival. J. No. Turner exhibitedat the Royal Academya marine containing the most imposing sky he ever attempted in a large canvas: Entrance of theMeuse49 (P1. fromthe standpointof the sky. without its becoming unduly dominating. I8I9. particularly impressive sky is Fish Market on Callcott. incidentally.E. where Church bearing S. W.though. by S.dynamicsky on a large scale. On the otherhand. 51 At least five contemporary journals inLondon I 9 I 2. M. Van Literary Gazette remarkedthat 'the sea and Tromp.and doubtlesswere seen by Constable. All thesewereboughtby WalterFawkesand exhibitedin I 8 I 9 at his London residence. he probablypreferred the grandcloudscapeirl The Meuse to the other most imposing sky among the landscapesat the I8I9 exhibition:J. One of the mostnoteworthy. Then too. P1.op.5. Brill (I I July I8I9) noted the squallysky. marine.the previous year. may here have been additionally Fawkes's and the academy's wasat SirJohn drivenby a desireto outstripChalonin the Leicester'stown house.exhibited an EnglishCoast( I 8 I 8). the forms of clouds are in unusual diverse Brill.this sky marksthe firstbeginningsof 'the phantasmagorical sky' in Turner'sart. 28 in A.The brilliant I 7th-centuryDutch admiral.52In any case.ssc)..As LawrenceGowing has remarkedin conversation. But only the beginnings..Turner'ssky here is still quite within the realm of plausibility.drewhigh praise ? berg's Turner's Water-Colours at Farnley Hall. P1.cit. For Constable. Fin.5l Constable doesnot mentiontheseworksin his letters. J.Raby Castle and some of the watercoloursmade for Fawkes would have won more admirationfor their skies. see paintingof a formidable skyscapefor a large Butlin. for comparedwith the overtlyfantastic skiesinJohn Martin's'machines'. J. Surelyhe could not help but feel to someextentthe combinedimpactof the threepublic displaysof Turner'swork this year (totallingten large oils and over seventy finishedwatercolours).CONSTABLE'S SKYSKETCHES 357 seriesof finishedwatercolours of Rhine views painted late in I8I7. TheExaminer Orange Merchant ontheBargoingtoPieces. Finberg. The rich arrayof cloud formsare diversified to an unprecedentedextent. 259). & A.50 One wonderswhether these marinesstimulated any general discussionamong landscapepaintersabout the problemof representing a powerful.a favourite heroof Turner. such as fAeFallofBabylon (exhibitedearlier the same year at the BritishInstitution). by S. Turner. 444).is SIayence and Sastel(I 8I 7) 47 in which the cloudsare very closein style to the abovecited studyon page xxv of the skiessketchbook.. 234) in which the storm effect is rather forced. helpedto motivatea numberof his exhibited 52 The third exhibition in addition to works. for the next severalyears it was suddenly Constable's large exhibited landscapes which presented the most 47 For a fine colour reproduction. sky possessed some of the noblest powersof 50 An interesting side query is whether painting' (quotedby A. London I939. Masenslays E. cludedbrieSnotices of Turner's painting. providinga kind of anthologyof his favourite kindsof clouds and perhapsfor this reasondoes not resemblenatureto the extent we found in Raby Castle. and included eight .48 The same year. TheLife Turner. as well as the equally impressivegroup of watercoloursof Britishscenes executed the followingyear. Chalon's View of Hastings (V.whose Mouth of the Tyne. p. More enthusiastic.was the birthplaceof the directions'(p.but then his surviving correspondence happensto be rathersparsein the years I8I7-I9.
29 March I965. listed in Finberg. A hilly. TheJew Monthly llZIagazine complainedthat 'the sky was heavy in parts and somewhatdeficientin cleanness'. V. Colchester. London. op. Beckett.G. Art andArtistsin England N. p..and Turnerdid not send anotheroil to the academywith a sky approaching the sublimepower and scale of that in The Meuse until the later I820'S. P1. open. cit.R.'54 VI.treesand the chimney pots of neighbouringcottages. The text given I809.A Mill. 'I have often been advisedto considermy Sky as a "White Sheet dravwn behind the Objects"-Certainly if the Sky is obtrusive (as mine are) it is bad. The firstconcerns an untracedlandscape. 56 W. it very conceivablyinduced the artist to considerstill more than previously the crucial role that weather circumstances can play in landscapepainting. p. in its otherwiselaudatoryreview of TheHay Wain(I82I).. windy region offeringfewer objectsof 'endearingassociations' than did his native Suffolk.while he enthusiasticallysupportsBadt's thesis. The artist himselfalludes to this in his famousletter on skying (23 October I82I). T. but if they are evaded (as mine are not) it is worse..liningsand altersthepunction. claimed that the early landscapes by Turner (dating I799in the Minories. CRITICISMOF THE SKY IN CONSTABLE S EXHIBITED WORKS: I8I9-2 I Still anotherincentivefor the Hampsteadstudiesis the criticismdirected at the skies in some of Constable'ssizeable. B. London I 928. . A Mill. now cit. v). Op. Furthermore. contemporary journal criticismon at least two occasionsfound fault with his skies. '[Constable] found the rising ground at Hampstead admirably adapted for the seizing of transientappearances in the sky. All day long the clouds(especially in September) roll overlike non-captiveballoonsso that one can just lie on the grassand watch them with uninterrupted enjoyment. larly Sun risingthrough Vapour (I807. 478).for Constablewas painfully sensitive to any adverse comment. GrahamReynoldsalsoseesthislocaleas speciallyconduciveto facilitating such activity.. from the original letter. writes similarlyabout this region. This picture 63 Op.and was so used by Van de Velde over IOO years beforefor sky studies. Whitley.shortlybeforehe began his specialskyingcampaign.358 LOUIS HAWES Hastings with a comparable work. no 479) * I 80F20. cit. cit. From where he sat often no doubtin the gardenof his house the groundfell away fromhis feet and he could see the sky over and throughbushes. 299. published in I830 (Shirley. exhibited at the BritishInstitutionin I8I9. p.) omits some of the underof these included impressive skies.56Two yearslater. 'It provides a perfect"observatory" for meteorological phenomena. tint. 26. THE ENVIRONMENT OF HAMPSTEAD HEATH impressiveskies (as well as the most 'real'). the Repository of theArts. Four by Leslie (ed. where Constablepainted his two majorseriesof skies. iS possibly reflected in David Lucas's mezzo54 A letter to the writer... Chalon never followed up his Another factor relevant here is the nature of HampsteadHeath. exhibited pictures.'53Moreover.'55 This implied criticismprobably acted as a furtherprod for engagingin an extendedbout of sky sketching. particu. 55 To Fisher..
op. the original 59 From p. I8XI)...The sky is the source "Scale"-and the chief "Organ in nature and governseverything. who reportedthat a 'grand critical party' Mill (I820).CONSTABLE'SSKY SKETCHES 359 57 A noteworthy 'darkcloudsimparttoo muchof theirsombrehue to his trees'. The sky must and alwaysshall with the tosympathise seem skies their with me makean effectualpart of the composition.made in conversation.as we saw in conjunction crystallized in the precedingsection. the problem of he saysnothinghere about achieving doesnot apply.' ratherthan skystudies. a convictionthat letter of 23 October I82I. CONSTABLE S LETTER ON THE CRUCIAL ROLE OF THE SKY IN LANDSCAPE about the A furtherpertinentfactor is Constable'smounting cconviction decisive effect that the sky has in any landscapepainting.and probably with that activity. VII. Beckett. as well as with the precedingconsiderations. Apparently six-footer of the sky which disturbedthe party. cit. these reflectionsimmediatelyfollowhis remarkaboutdoing 'a good deal of skying'... cit. 57 Vo. where the bringingout 'two printsfrom Wouvermans whole stresswas laid on the sky'. This. Curiously. 68 op. I have so far found no negative commentson Constable'sskiesdating beforeI8I9. Their difficultyin painting both as to compositionand Executionis very great . & that my skieshave not been neglectedthoughthey oftenhave failed in execution and often no doubt from over anxiety about them which alone will destroythat Easy appearancewhich naturealwayshas in all her 59 movements. indeed.. was relayedin a letter piece of unpublishedcriticism. pp. on the otherhand. I know very well what I am about . as Fisher says he 'silencedthem' by and a Van der Neer. for inasmuch as they deal exclusivelywith the sky. While Constablerefershereto completelandscapes the general relevancefor the latter is obvious.. is hardlya reasonformakingthe 'pure'cloudstudiesthe following year. becausewith all their brilliancy or be hardlythoughtabout and consequence they oughtnot to comeforward do not in a picture any morethan extremedistancesare But theseremarks or what the painters call accidental Effects of Skyapply to phenomenon because they always attract particularly.. taken together it providesan added incentive. 80-8I.. Sir Joshua Reynolds speaking of the "Landscape"of Titian & Salvator & Claude says "Even Subject". .... anotherclue (along with that cited in section V) as to why the studieswere made when they were. the artist'ssecond had insistentlyobjectedto the sky in Stratford it wastheprominence whichFisherhad recentlybought.yet... obtrusiveness letter.58 Of coursesuch criticismby itselfmay not that producednumerous adequateprodfor an undertaking offera sufficiently finishedstudieswhich went beyond 'correctiveexercises'. iX (nd series. it will be difficultto name of note" the standard a class of Landscape in which the sky is not the "key of light of sentiment". 26 SeptemberI82I. The letter also states.what he regardedas a particularchallenge:to give the sky its due prominencewithout its becoming 'obtrusive'. 'That Landscape burstforth in his extraordinary painterwho does not make his skiesa very materialpart of his compositionneglects to avail himself of one of his greatest aids. 367. from Fisher.
6l This suggeststhe possibilitythat he endedup paintingskiesout of sheerfascination (or obsession)with such phenomena. VIII. This is well evident in Hampstead Heath: the'SaltBox'in theDistance. I 820-30 in his I 960 catalogueand c. On the other hand. I820 (Fitzwilliam Museum). whichincludesa separatesectionon clouds.thecloud formsapproximate the look of actual clouds to a degree unequalledelsewherein art. TheLock (I824). To my eye.enjoyablefor themselves. I 7I 5). thoughwell awarethat the publicwouldnot acceptthem as such. andseasons ofthe year 60 The view. I do not feel that such a view merely projectsa twentieth-century attitude. which Reynoldsdated C.at leastinitially.. No. sometimes expressed. 61 Probably the mostsubtlyillusionistic sky found in his entire oeuvres appearsin HampsteadHeath (Pl. expressive vitalityofthe skiesin TheHay Wain.we may justifiablyinfer that thisaim constituted a majorpartof his conscious motivation.he had alreadyachieveda remarkable naturalismin the skies shortlybefore launchinghis skyingcampaignlate in I82I. Certainlyhe made more cloud studiesthan were necessary for improvinghis skill. In his case.c. in my estimation. near theSand Pits.70ctoberI822. The main differencebetweentheir skiesand those in worksafter I822 iS that in the latter the clouds are more stronglymodelled and often present a more dramatic appearance. and perhapshave come to look upon his studies (privately)as end products. But at somepoint his sky sketchingmay well have become an autonomous activity. Hampstead.conflicts with the fact that none of the skies in these are derived from his studies. this sky lacks some of the compelling. I 820 in his 1965monograph. I822 is the mostplausible dating. several notable writingson landscapeavailableto Constableemphasizethe desirabilityof sketchingskiesin the open air. could not help but increasehis skill in sky painting. .urgingthe student to sketch'effectsof the skyin the severaltimesofthe day. Dedham Vale (I828) and other large picturesof the I 820'S. the latter probablyprovideda certain amountof generalinspiration as well as convenient standardsof naturalness. thereremainsthe fact that in The HayWain and a few smallerlandscapes. so often reiteratedelsewherein his letters and lectures. sse).on the grounds of style. That is.those of I822 are generallymuch more 'finished'than any of his sketch-models for landscapes. In view of his reverentialardour for 'truth to nature'. I 236) and Upper Heath. I agreewith Reynolds's suggestion (in I960) that this work may be the 'Green HigAgate' mentionedin a letter by the artist. by I822 he may have begun sketchingcloudswithoutany definiteulteriormotive. moreover. I8I9 (Tate Gallery. Constable'stwo spells of intensive skyingdid not resultin his conspicuously excellingthe alreadyhigh degreeof naturalismmanifestin the skies of several picturesdating I8Ig-2I. made with a view to betteringhis skill and to amassinga repertoryof particularcloud effiects which might help to stimulatehis conceptionand executionof skiesin studiolandscapes. that Constable wantedto build up a collectionof sketch-models to adapt in his studio landscapes.tr. Constablemay initially have undertaken his Hampsteadseriespartlyas practiceexercises. Moreover.360 LOUIS HAWES greatervisual truth. The earliestis the pioneering chapteron landscape in RogerDe Piles'sPrinciples ofPainting (I 708. in any case. 60 On the otherhand. ART THEORY Lastly. c. In other words. Engl. Inanycase. True. which would seem the chief impetusbehind the studies. the makingof which.
'. A beautiful Sky is a Proof of a good master' (p. 34. . sourcefully J.62Although Constable of art reader an avid being work. Vii. of to the movements different pursue often and heights at different are they and as others. Is a beautifulSky . and density shape.) . Sometimesthey seem truly the fleecy clouds. 86.also remarks skies in his widely read Art of Psinting. London I 738.to sky sketching.'He who should see any one scene affectedby a loweringsky. 56).the composition 62 p. I 48 ( I 743 edn.and what massof shade/ It givesthe scenebelow.had he readthis (not unlikely). typescript. however. Landscape in his celebrated ThreeEssayson Picturesque Constablealmostcertainlyknew. Eng. a so standard with had some familiarity as Gilpin.pregnant with change / Perpetual.. as it is differently or a brightone. For example.their colours. he recommends cloud observation. .65 In I793. . see also his ScottishTour.togetherwith thosementionedin op. letters. 3). . their skirts appear hard against their neighbours. alludesbrieflyto the beautiesthat the landscape Englishskyholdsfor the observant painter. .he remarks heavyladen. seen in the rolling of the clouds. list of booksin Constable's 63 A three-page art library. publishedanonymouslyhis comMagazine. tonality and mood of a landscape. There is no however. p. 7-9)* who This was a convictiondearto Constable.appearsin Beckett's xv. . . Certainly Gonstable would have assented mostheartily. Pott. to refer not does weather'.. appended to the essays. which is nearly unknownto the placid southernhemisphere'(p.66 In a sky sketching. .they introducean infinite variety into the moving picture'. . against of one formsof the clouds. literature.especiallytheir study close advising sky. of one compositions a thousand 'occasion which clouds. both irl serene. chs.cit. In the crucialrole certainof his Eours he stresses playedby the sky. i-ii.63 river Thames on the 'skoying' Velde's Van der younger noted. at other times. 'Does not the Sky most adorn and invigorate a Lanskip. i.. see my on Wrztings doctoral dissertation)Constsble's Art.CharlesTaylor. the in the evening at rvight noon morning-at the skyforinstance in a their others. clouds. against courses.and in fact was amongthe first to emphasizehow its light and colour 24 and charac(dependingon the arrangement ter of the cloudsas well as on the time of day) determines the whole chiaroscuro effect. 64 p. they speckle the heavens and distribute themselvesin airy the celestialexpanse'(p. . 65 Gilpin's anonymouslypublished Esssy on Landscape. Appendix I../ Its variedcolour. tr. The contemporary on theorist. . markeach floating mentioning cloud: its form. earlier any than More tone. . applied it much more extensivelyand rethan Gilpinever conceived.. ..noting especiallythe rich varietyof 'action. For a discussionof the with and partial artist'sextensivefamiliarity indebtednessto earlier art theory.anyway. filmsthroughout . might probablysee two very see a landscapes. as it were.. endorsedthe which (I792).. ii. confininghimself. I782. .Gerardde Lairesse. and float in transparent thinness.and scarceable to remainin the air. how 'sometimes. to their role in landscapes Worthnothing. . 86). . the engraver. so easily to be painted? thin driving Is it not moreartfulto represent Cloudsthan a flat Ground?. .and makeit look agreeable?. the on section special he directsour attention writer.thunderingn in the variousdispositions very likely he this treatise. lSnished valuehe allotsthe skyis the unprecedented beyond what even De Piles granted.CONSTABLE'SSKY SKETCHES 36I and stormy of clouds. of the end the towards Secondly. Regardingthe myriad formsof 66 p. . wanton in every imaginary shape. they appear like solid masses of condensation. We sometimes different variationof light alter the whole disposition of a landscape'(Lake Tour. This contained a prehensiveillustrated treatisenThe Landscate of actualclouds.he specifically require distinct and carefulstudy: each component parts of a picture may . but without sketches. 'It is evidentthat the recommends later section. pp. I 789.PrincetonI963. reference.' (p. H. I786. Amsterdam I 707. in his contemporary. . William century. In his didactic poem on landscape. 289).64 .
Thoughobscure today. landscape painter who cin particular distinguishesthe age by the sublimity of his genius'(p. Drawingand PaintingLandscape from J%ature. outof doors.7l We do not know whether the artist was acquainted with this provocativedialogue. brieflycommendsthe practice.&c. 68 This dialogue..74But neitherwould Howard'snor Forster's descriptions of the basic cloud types have done substantially more than this. 269-77.its stated open-air context suggestsit would include sky sketchesor at least 'sky illumination studies'. More interestingis an engraved schematic cloudscape with colournotes. minus its voluminous notes. IO. water. written c.72 After about I820.ii) 2nd series. however.independentof the great use to be made of them on future occasions. I8I3).massesof rock.advised a sky sketchingprogramme remotelyapproachingthe intensiveness of Constable's. I 775.A Recent Discovery in theArt of Painting (I 8I 7). v. or reflectingon them. 9). 72 A somewhat earlierpublication touching on this problem of dealing with the colour and light values of skies is William Oram's The Art of Colouring in Landscape Psinting. brokenground. At most. 74 Much the same appliesto the wealth of to the sky and cloudsin romantic 71 Turner is the one modern artist pre. had come out the previous year in Ackerman's Repository of theArts. Daylight. and the mannerof light breaking throughthem. Certainly the title is one which would have caught his eye. and threemoderns a reactionary portrait painter (thedevil'sadvocateofthe dialogue). even FrancisNicholson's predominantlyconservativetreatise.69 Albert Cuyp enthusiastically recommends that the art student make 'genuinestudies of light andcolour taken faithfullyfrom J%ature itself. involvingfive Flemishand Dutch old masters and three contemporaryEnglish painters. 36 (2nd edn.68 In the courseof the conversation. Closerin time to Constable'sHampsteadstudieswas the appearanceof Henry Richter's dialogue. this treatise was apparentlyin some demand in Constable'stime. 69 The participants included: Teniers) Rubens. Nor did any provide significantpractical remarkson matters of execution.Van Dyck.and the author.'*73 No theorist. ch. &c.but someformof contactseemsto me likely. the advocacy of sky sketching (at least in pencil or water-colour)is no longer a rarity in art theory. under all its various aspects'. restrictshimselfto detailedcolourinstructions. 73 P.s 3 )2 LOUIS HAWES mannerof moving&c. I823).. The author. reappearing prominentlyas volume iii of Taylor'sthen widely knownArtists' Repository &9 Enfyclopedicl of theFineArts(new edn. and the contextpertainsto finishedpictures. pp. . . 67 p. I 8 I 6.folliage. 'Studiesofthe stemsof trees. 70 p.'67 CertainlyConstable would have provedmostreceptive to suchstatements. the above sourceswould simplyhave reinforced the artist'slively interestin cloudsand cloud sketching.sky. will be more conducivetowardsimprovementthan the delineationof tlle whole of generalsubjects.however..such as some of Constable'sand many of Turner'sskiesmight well be called (in which the emphasisis more on colourand light values than on clouds). if as much. in Water Colours (I820).a young art student (thepleinsir enthusiast). Rembrandt. 'On Painting Skies'. had he readthem but thisis not known. I I2. I808. In the sectionon CDistances') the autilorunderscores the sky'sfar-reaching importanceas 'thesourceof light'in a landscape -a tenet Constable particularly held high.Cuyp.references sumably alluded to by the referenceto a poetryand proseavailableto Constable. London I 8 I 0.70While the initial phraseis a little ambiguous.
This is not to deny that conceptualsourcescan play an importantrole in an ar-tist's practice. William Crotchor Turner. there are no groundsfor believingthat such contact did more than reaffirm and perhapsconcentrate an alreadyactiveinterest. The . I have stressed factorswhich eithereludedBadtor wererejected in favourof the single 'causal'stimulushe isolates. III Some Awareness of Earlier SkySketches whether by 'Claude'. The Hampsteadseriesfallswithin the artist's most intensivephase of outdooroil sketching:I820-25. I8I7-I8.but taken togetherand seen as convergingstimuli. R.while others (I-III) denote the fundamental preparatoryconditions.J. Regardingthe latter.in widely availabletreatisesby De Piles. observations'. taken alone. Possible Indirect Relevance: Some awareness of contemporary meteorological classifications.Joseph AVright. VIII Art 7Cheory passagesadvocating on-the-spotsky sketching. adequately accountsfor the studies. and the notableskyscapes in two large oil paintings:Raby Castle (I8I8) and Entrance tothe Meuse (I 8 I 9) . a morepalatablestudythan Howard'sforbidding two-volume work( I8I8-20). Gilpin. is untenable.and the locality ofthe I82I-22 sky series. Van der Velde the Younger. Cozens. VII Convictions about theCrucial Role of tAle Skyin Landscape and itsDifMiculties of Execution statedin a letterof I 82 I (in the contextof 'skying') . In summary.CONSTABLE'S SKYSKETCHES 363 Whenall is said. Taylor and Richter.I list the followingas the factorsmostrelevantto Constable's Hampsteadseriesof skysketching: I Life-long Dedication toOpen-air Sketching-including sporadicskysketching from I806 (if not earlier) . .A.secondaryrole to theoreticalarldconceptualstimuli (whether art theory or meteorologicalscience). Cozens. the evidence warrants our concluding that a familiarity with contemporary meteorologywas neithera pre-requisite for Constable's skyingnor one of the more importantlyoperativeof severalknown or probablemotivatingfactors. . IV Surner's Skies:I8I7-I9 includingthe unprecedentedly extensiveseries of sixty-fivewatercolour studiesin the 'Skies'sketchbook of c. Certainof the above (IV-VI) concernmore the immediate. II Early Experience as a Windmiller when he made his 'earlieststudiesand . Stratford Mill (I 820) and The HayWain (I 82 I ) .Badt'stheory. allottinga more modest. V fAe Environment of Hampstead Heath a 'natural observatory'.howeverthought-provoking and influential. I have given priority to empirical and environmentalconsiderations. (Artistfirstpaintsthere in I8I9. gainedsome time beforeI836 via Thomas Forster's book ( I 8 I 3). the greaterpartof whichcomprises tedious tabulations. Although the painter had likely seen or heard about Howard'sterminology by I82I.I believe they bring us appreciablycloserto an understanding of how and why Constable'sdazzling eruptionof sky sketchescame about.) VI Criticism of theSkyin Certain Exhibited Works: I8I9-2I as indicated in two letters of I82I and by remarksin two criticaljournals. No one of these factors.occasioning stimulifor the Hampsteadskies.respecting 7Che Mill (I 8 I 9).
an almost uncanny immediacy. Con. This trance-likestate gave rapidity to his 76 The best corpus of photographs is the graspof the scenebeforehim. The balance of evidence argues that the principal factor was the artist's zealous persistencein on-the-spot. ness to the visible world. flooded whichhas everbeen madeart' (Landscape Into his consciousness. And yet.succeedsin reconcilingtwo potentially 75 A psychologicalfactor conducing this to actual appearances. and endowingthem with an expressive vitality that makesthem all the more vivid and 'alive' withoutany sacrifice of theirsenseof naturalness. Certainlyone would be hard pressedto single out a 'model' for any of the I82I-22 studies. a progressively importantactivitysince I802.76Most are vigorouslypainted. virtuallysubmerging mem. & A. their spontaneity and immediacy.364 LOUIS HAWES point here is that with Constable'scloud studies. 223 and 32I). shortintroduction hisoil sketches theirfresh. they seem more essentially'real' than any photographs I haveseen. revealinga delight in the mediurn. tradition is logical Office. climaxingin the years I820-25. S. I do not mean here sheerobjectivefidelity. Geneva I956). when booklet published by the British Meteorowe turnto his finishedlandscapes. would appearto owe most to this 'romantic.representation.R. 'causal'role. Scorer. the clouds have a uniquely compellingquality. Granted. really phenomenaldegree of approximation .specialized application of his habitual practice of outdoor landscape sketching.these works 'show the most com'direct'. Cit. Meteorological Organization. concentratedobservationand repeatedoil sketchingof one type of phenomena overan extendedperiod.Constable here.Water-meadows nearSalisbury. The characteristic qualitiesof A mosthelpful.London I 959.. Cloud Types for Observers.for at the same time. as it were. as in his best landscapesketches.mlnimallybiasednatureexperience. Cloud Study:A Pictorial Guide.rapt in a speciesof hypnoticvision.. but rather seems temporarilysubmergedby the immediate experienceof first-hand observation and the processof rapidoil sketching.Constable'scloud studies (and quite a few landscape sketches) demonstratethat art need not always owe more to other art than to fresh observationof nature.setting them apart from all earlierstudies. Op. of freshexperience once in a while dominant.nos.with the impact ness. Contraryto a basic convictionof Wolfflinand numerouslater art historians. p. a more stablewas in a state of heightenedconscious. notably: Trees at relative emancipation from tradition was Hampstead: ThePathto theChurch. as Badt claims for meteorology. L. p. London I 949.75 Thanksto this.even thoughthey areinevitablylessliterally accurate. and Constable's 'Wordsworthian' hyper-receptive.outdoor'lookand to the subjectis the bookby F. and unityto his AbridgedInternational Cloud Atlas (World visual apperception of it' ( I 965 monograph. a few exhibita don I962. in part. existingevidence does not justify our grantingsuch sourcesa decisive. Lonobviously operative.. 77). 90). plete acceptance of all the facts of vision Certainfavouritescenes.Graham achieving this unprecedentedlevel of illuReynolds also notes this 'enrapt' mode of sionismchallengesthe widely held view that viewing and feeling nature: 'When working traditionalways dominatesboth vision and in the open air. we are warrantedin viewing the latter as a supplementary. in front of the motif. The above conclusionshave broader implications worth touching on briefly.. At most. if only temporarily.up-to-date. His writingscon. Also useful is the succinct naturalist' response to nature. The painter'sextensivefamiliarity with past landscapeconventionsdoes not here appear a determiningfactor. I82I. I829 (V. This procedure was a logical.. reaffirmingstimulus. As Sir KennethClarkhas firm (as his sketches suggest)this capacityfor observed.suggesting instead.Art. Ludlamand feel'. Constable's oriesof pictures.even give-and-take at times.
CONSTABLE'S SKYSKETCHES 365 divergent aims:objective portrayal and expressive emphasis. givingbirthto a singular lyrical naturalism. .His passionate regard for 'truthto nature' and his equallyardentconcern for 'thepoetryof the art'fruitfully unitein his bestmoments.
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