Joseph Mallord William Turner A Two-Masted Sailing Ship Seen from the Shore; A Groyne in the Foreground c.1796–7

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Artwork details

Title
A Two-Masted Sailing Ship Seen from the Shore; A Groyne in the Foreground
Date c.1796–7
Medium Gouache, graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions Support: 201 x 272 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D00889
Turner Bequest XXXIII R
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Display caption

Shipping seen in profile against the horizon was a favourite pictorial device inherited from Dutch marine painting. Britain’s military strength and commercial prosperity was, like that of the Netherlands, founded on its naval prowess and the British shared the Dutch enthusiasm for paintings of ships on the ocean. Turner’s early sea pictures nearly always integrate ships or boats into the composition.

The wooden structure in the foreground is a groyne, a protective device built between the shore and the sea to prevent the beach from washing away.

April 2005

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