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Although left in a rudimentary state, this picture suggests a stormy sea with choppy waves beneath a blank sky. Turner’s brushstrokes at the corners of the painting could indicate that he intended to create a whirling vortex of waves and clouds, just as he did in Snow Storm: Steamboat off a Harbour’s Mouth (1842).

A dark shape at the centre of the work could be a large ship or a pier, and it has been suggested that two reddish-brown shapes on either side may be the sails of smaller boats.

February 2010