Joseph Mallord William Turner
Ship at Sea c.1830–5

Artwork details

Ship at Sea
Date c.1830–5
Medium Watercolour, graphite and gouache on paper
Dimensions Support: 190 x 273 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 226
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

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These watercolours share a common palette of grey, black, blue and olive-green backgrounds interspersed with fluid bands of pink, yellow or blue. Turner may have painted the sheets one after the other, using the same few colours ready mixed on his palette.

Working in this way freed Turner from the conventions of watercolour painting and enabled him to experiment with new methods. In On the Sea Shore he seems to have created dots of colour by flicking a brush loaded with paint against the paper.

July 2008

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