© Royal Meteorological Society/Science Museum Group
Cloud study by Luke Howard, c1803-1811: Landscape, viewed by fisherman, roughed in show cumulaic heap similar to tops of trees. Pencil and grey wash, 15x25cm. Inscribed in pencil: Castles in the Air formed out of Clouds.
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.