Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sea and Sky

c.1830–45

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: 193 x 280 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D36163
Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 306

Display caption

The modern concept of abstraction would not have been understood or endorsed in the nineteenth century, even by an artist as experimental as Turner. He would not have intended these late, loose colour beginnings to have been exhibited during his lifetime.

Nevertheless, in each of these works the elements of the composition are reduced to the barest representation of sea and sky. These private, informal studies reveal Turner’s intuitive ability to think of landscape in terms of pure colour.

Gallery label, July 2008

Catalogue entry

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