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Constable stayed at Salisbury with his great friend, Archdeacon John Fisher, on several occasions, but only in 1820 or 1829 for any length of time. This sketch could date from either visit. It is one of a number he made either from Leadenhall, Fisher’s house in the Close, or from its gardens stretching down to the river Avon. Many of them, like this one, concentrate on the sky.

In a letter to Fisher, in 1821, Constable famously described the sky as the ‘key note’ in a landscape painting, the ‘standard of Scale’, and the chief ‘Organ of sentiment’.

September 2004