View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 140 x 192 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D20274
Turner Bequest CCXXII O

Display caption

This small but powerful study shows how Turner created an almost abstract language of form and colour that could accommodate both modern and historic subjects. This watercolour has been interpreted as showing a modern dockyward. However, it could equally be seen as showing some kind of monumental ancient architecture. The sense of mystery conveyed by this work can be related to the aesthetic of the Sublime, which played an important role in helping people to see modern subjects as worthy of artistic treatment.

Gallery label, August 2004

Explore