© Royal Meteorological Society/Science Museum Group
Cloud study by Luke Howard, c1803-1811: Dark cirrostratus. Blue wash, 12x20cm (recto); Pencil sketch of machine part (verso). Part of a collection of 51 drawings with 1 engraving, studies of clouds c1803-1811, by the meteorologist Luke Howard FRS (1772-1864). Mainly pencil and wash, 19x28cm. or smaller with conservation paper backs or edging. - Collection assembled in 1923 by Howard's granddaughter Mariabella Fry from 'loose scraps among family papers, without note or comment' and subsequently deposited by the Royal Meteorological Society. - Some sketches are inscribed, only two dated. Showing observations of cloud formations while adopting the nomenclature presented in Howard's paper 'On the modifications of clouds' 1803. Six drawings have highly finished landscapes probably by an assistant, Silvanus Bevan. Some are originals for engravings of cloud formations in editions of the classification promulgated in Philosophical Magazine 1803, Rees's Cyclopedia and other, later publications. For specific details of each drawing please see 1981-862/1 to 1981-862/52. Ordering and classification were important features of Enlightenment science. Fascinated since childhood by the weather, and clouds in particular, Luke Howard classified and named different cloud types between 1803 and 1811, providing sketches for these later illustrations. His work has influenced many of the landscape painters of the Romantic era, including Turner and Constable. Although he was a pharmacist, his contribution to the developing science of meteorology led to Howard being made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1821. His terminology and symbols are still largely used to describe clouds today.
Cloud study by Luke Howard, c1803-1811: Dark cirrostratus. Blue wash, 12x20cm (recto); Pencil sketch of machine part