Joseph Mallord William Turner
A Wreck, with Fishing Boats c.1840–5

Artwork details

A Wreck, with Fishing Boats
Date c.1840–5
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 914 x 1222 mm
frame: 1125 x 1430 x 90 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Not on display

Display caption

Turner made many of his later seapieces powerfully immediate and disorientating by not including any foreground or landscape reference points. This absence of traditional framing devices immerses the viewer more directly in the tempestuous scene.

Here, the paint suggesting the white crests of the waves is vigorously applied, often with a palette knife. In the distance you can see the sails of one or two smaller boats alongside the bluish hull of a much bigger wrecked ship, possibly recalling an incident Turner witnessed off the  coast of Kent.

For conservation reasons this picture cannot be displayed without a frame.

February 2004

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