Stanfield was seen as Turner’s only rival in marine subjects. By this date (1839) his more highly-finished oil paintings were more popular than Turner’s more atmospheric works, which baffled many people.
This watercolour observation of a plume of smoke rising from Mount Vesuvius being caught by the setting sun shows Stanfield at his most informal and spontaneous. It may help explain why Ruskin emphasised his particular excellence in the treatment of clouds.
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