Cloud study of light cirrostratus, above cumulus

1811 in England
Luke Howard

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Royal Meteorological Society|Enquiries to Science Museum, London
Royal Meteorological Society|Enquiries to Science Museum, London

Cloud study by Luke Howard, 1811: Light cirrostratus, above cumulus. Pencil with blue, buff and grey wash. Inscribed in pencil: 6pm 6mo 22. 1811

Chemist and amateur meterologist Luke Howard captured the different shapes and colours of clouds in these delicate pencil and watercolour sketches. Along with observations of height and movement, he managed the unimaginable and classified the clouds. Howard identified three basic families of clouds, using Latin names: cirrus ('curl of hair'), stratus ('layer') and cumulus ('heap' or 'pile'). He then added a further four subcategories - cirro-cumulus, cirro-stratus (nimbus) to explain the way clouds could swiftly change in appearance or join with others in the sky. Howard collaborated with the artist Edward Kennion to produce more picturesque cloud sketches for the third edition of his 'Essay on the Modification of Clouds' published in Alexander Tilloch’s 'Philosophical Magazine' in 1865.


overall (original): 163 mm x 184 mm
overall (secondary support): 223 mm x 248 mm
On loan from the Royal Meteorological Society

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