Joseph Mallord William Turner
Moonlight over the Sea c.1830–8

Artwork details

Moonlight over the Sea
Date c.1830–8
Medium Graphite, watercolour and gouache on paper
Dimensions Support: 144 x 194 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIX 22
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Display caption

Turner may have painted these sea studies on one of his many visits to the coast in the 1830s. He would have carried large sheets of blue paper with him on his travels. These could be folded and torn into a number of smaller sheets.

Over the course of his career Turner experimented with many different coloured papers. He particularly liked the variety of effects he could achieve with watercolour and gouache applied onto a blue ground. The darker surface allowed him to use white highlights to great effect when painting foaming waves or the reflection of moonlight.

April 2005

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