Piazzi Smyth's views in
"The truth is that in the
preparation of these beautiful photographs the artist had taken
over from the scientist. Piazzi Smyth, now an old man,
looked on his cloud forms as fleeting objects of beauty rather
than as examples of natural phenomena."
"He called them 'Cloud forms
that have been: to the Glory of God their Creator and the
wonderment of learned men', and reflected on how each cloud, and
each raindrop within each cloud, came about through the immutable
laws of physics; yet no two clouds were exactly the same
because the same identical circumstances never recur."
"All his life he loved looking
at the sky and had recorded hundreds of skyscapes, sunsets,
illuminated clouds, storms - with endless variety of
colours and combinations of shapes."
"The photographs could capture
only some of the many forms while most had gone unrecorded and
unseen. [He regretted]
'No one of them ever came
back and showed its beauties again! Alas! Alas!, how
many such opportunities have I in the long life allowed me, and
the varied course of it granted, lazily and culpably lost."
[The Peripatetic Astronomer: Adam Hilger,
Bristol, 1988: pp.252-3]