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Cozens is chiefly remembered for his various systems for the invention of landscape composition. His own landscapes were usually arranged according to fixed principles of design, to convey the moods and associations he connected with particular natural forms or effects. This painting was not a direct study from nature, and was intended to indicate a typical rather than a fleeting effect. Though far from spontaneous, Cozens's compositions did much to stimulate the Romantics to more direct study of the sky. Constable made various copies of Cozens's cloud renderings, and followed him in his appreciation of the sky as a prime 'organ of sentiment'.

August 2004