This impressive oil sketch captures the immediate sensations of light and atmosphere on the Brighton coast. In August 1824 Constable wrote to John Fisher that at Brighton ‘there is nothing … for a painter, but the breakers – & the sky’. (Beckett VI, p. 171). In this painting the expanse of sea and sky is interrupted only by distant sailing boats. Constable gave the scene drama through the contrasting energy of the dark mass of the storm clouds and the horizontal strip of sea below.