Joseph Mallord William Turner
Seascape with Buoy c.1840

Artwork details

Seascape with Buoy
Date c.1840
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 914 x 1219 mm
frame: 1069 x 1380 x 95 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

Display caption

It is not difficult to see this canvas as the raw beginnings of the kind of marine subject Turner had painted from the 1830s onwards, in emulation of seventeenth-century Dutch painters.

In one famous anecdote, Turner added a bright red buoy to the foreground of a seapiece he was finishing at the Royal Academy. This was apparently a deliberate attempt to upstage the brilliance of a painting by Constable hanging nearby. Here, however, the buoy already forms part of Turner's conception of his image, implying that the scene was intended to evoke the hazards of shipping.

September 2004

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