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A day with John Constable on Hampstead Heath


The illusory promise of the bright morning has now been broken. Extensive cumulus now covers most of the sky, and some at least of the clouds are black with the threat of rain showers. It is nice to imagine that the smudged ink of numbers 13, 14 and 15 means that Constable was actually caught on the Heath by the rain! The nature of cumulus, with intense updraughts and surrounding regions of descent means that the cloud cover is rarely continuous, and Constable is fascinated in this sequence with patches of blue sky appearing in rents or holes in the clouds. A somewhat similar pattern is followed as in the sketches done in the morning, with numbers 10 and 11 looking towards the sun, numbers 12 and 13 looking away from the sun and numbers 14 and 15 looking somewhat to one side of the sun.

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