During the summers of 1821 and 1822, while living at Hampstead, the English painter John Constable set up his easel at various elevated locales on the Heath and painted oil sketches of clouds, as many as 50 during the summer of 1822 alone, with notations on the back concerning such atmospheric conditions as the time of day and the direction and speed of the wind. At first, these studies included treetops or bits of buildings, as though to tether the sky to the earth below. Soon, however, all ties were cut. Constable painted the first of his pure cloud studies on Sept.13, 1821, with the notation: "One o'clock. Slight wind at North West, which became tempestuous in the afternoon, with rain all the night following." Constable was understandably proud of his achievement in these paintings. "You can never be nubilous," he told his friend Archdeacon John Fisher in 1823. "I am the man of clouds."Christopher Benfey, 'Head In The Clouds'
Constable's cloud studies are on a short list of art I dream of buying if I ever become a captain of industry.