Joseph Mallord William TurnerSeascape with Buoy c.1840

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Artwork details

Seascape with Buoy
Date c.1840
MediumOil paint on canvas
Dimensionssupport: 914 x 1219 mm frame: 1069 x 1380 x 95 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Not on display

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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