This picture, signed and dated 1826, is a testimony to two of the favorite subjects of early nineteenth-century artists and their patrons—medieval monuments and nature. Through Constable's genius, the two here become, seemingly, one, as the large trees to the right soar upward beyond the limits of the canvas and frame the spire of the great thirteenth-century cathedral as though the same divine force invigorated them all. Salisbury and its cathedral were familiar to John Constable, through his intimate friendship with its bishop, Dr. John Fisher, and his nephew, Archdeacon John Fisher. Constable had painted an earlier version of the south façade of Salisbury, with a dark, cloudy sky, to which the Bishop objected, requesting "a more serene sky." Constable happily painted this second version of 1826, with its sunnier sky and more open composition, even including images of Dr. Fisher and his wife and daughter walking along the path to the left. Today, one probably would not encounter cows grazing around the cathedral, but its park, or "close," can still be recognized.