John Constable was one of the supreme painters of the weather, and his depictions of the sky are essential components of all his landscape paintings, from famous works such as The Hay Wain and Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows to his numerous cloud studies painted on Hampstead Heath, culminating in paintings that are all sky; the landscape beneath is completely absent.
In a letter to friend John Fisher, written in 1821, Constable commented, “That landscape painter who does not make his skies a very material part of his composition, neglects to avail himself of one of his greatest aids …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.”
Written by Mark Evans, a leading authority on the work of John Constable, and brimming with beautiful images, Constable’s Skies captures the artist’s fascination with the sky and brings together his depictions of the English weather from throughout his career. The unprecedented fidelity of Constable’s painted skies is proven by reference to contemporary weather diaries. The book also includes a guide to where to find Constable’s work around the world.
Mark Evans is Head of Paintings in the Department of Word and Image at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. His studies of the work of John Constable include John Constable: Oil Sketches from the Victoria and Albert Museum (2011) and John Constable: The Making of a Master (2014).