John Constable, a renowned artist, created a number of direct studies of cloud formations in the open air. While this particular study was painted on a larger scale, Constable made about fifty extant paintings of the sky in Hampstead. He mastered the art of painting clouds, and some of his sketches only show the clouds, while others depict the tree tops as well.
To ensure greater accuracy in his drawings, Constable used optical aids. He believed that only an accurate rendering of these constantly shifting elements could convey his vision of the vitality and magnificence of the English countryside. The artist David Hockney confirmed that Constable used these aids to make his drawings more precise.
Constable’s great ability to capture the constantly changing cloud forms is evident in his oil paintings. He used his mastery of light and shadow to create depth and texture in his depictions of the sky. This study of clouds at Hampstead, painted in 1821, is a testament to Constable’s love of nature and his ability to capture the beauty of the natural world through his artwork.