Joseph Mallord William Turner A Disaster at Sea ?c.1835

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Artwork details

Title
A Disaster at Sea
Date ?c.1835
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 1714 x 2203 mm
frame: 2190 x 2685 x 173 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
N00558
On display at Tate Britain
Exhibition: Late Turner

Display caption

This canvas was never exhibited and is probably unfinished, but remains one of Turner's most powerful statements on the Romantic theme of maritime disaster. Its pyramidal composition leaves little doubt that Turner had seen Géricault's Raft of the Medusa (now in the Louvre, Paris) described by one critic as ‘this tremendous picture of human sufferings’, when it was exhibited in London in 1822. Turner's own subject is the wreck of the Amphitrite off Boulogne in 1833. The ship's captain abandoned his cargo of female convicts, claiming that he was only authorised to land them in New South Wales.

March 2010

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