- Museum number
Study of clouds and woods; a hill of thick woods, storm clouds above. 1830
- Production date
Height: 89 millimetres
Width: 110 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This is the earliest of the group of sky studies Constable made from 1830 onwards. Unlike the studies of 1821-22, which were in oils, almost all these later studies are in watercolour. Several show the sky viewed from the house in Well Walk which Constable rented from 1827, but in this sketch Constable reverts to a type of composition he used frequently in the first group of sky studies in 1821, with a band of treetops in the lower half of the sheet, but no other identifiable features. Although not indicated by the inscription, it seems likely that this sketch was also made from a south facing window of the house at Well Walk. The profile of the treetops is identical with the group of trees to the southwest of the house seen on the horizon in the oil of 'London from Hampstead' in Glasgow Art Gallery, and two related studies (see R30.4, R30.21 and Tate 1991, cat. 128).
The intensity of the dark cloud almost filling the sheet must have been one of the things which attracted Constable to record this moment. A small oil study, of a much more extensive sky, but similarly half overcast with a mass of black cloud, is in the Bacon collection (R30.15), with an inscription (not by the artist) that it was made from a window of the Hampstead house.
It is significant that the inscription mentions that the study was made at, or around, noon. This is the time of day which appeared most frequently on Constable's sky studies of 1821-2, as well as in picture titles and the titles of the prints of 'English Landscape Scenery', which he was working on with David Lucas at the period this study was made. Both of the other sky studies securely datable to 1830 mention 'noon' in their inscriptions (R30.11 and R30.14, 1888-2-12-50). The painting of West End Fields, Hampstead, which was published in the second part of 'English Landscape Scenery', issued 29 December 1830 with the title 'Noon', which Reynolds dated to 1830, was more likely painted around 1821 (R30.20 and Tate 1991, cat.109).
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1958 Apr, BM, Eight centuries of landscape ... water-colours, Section 79
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number