Joseph Mallord William Turner

Vessels at Sea

c.1821–2

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 113 x 187 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17360
Turner Bequest CXCVIII 89 a

Catalogue entry

In a return to subject matter initiated two pages previously on folio 88 verso (D17358), and continued two pages subsequently on folio 90 verso (D17362), here Turner describes vessels at sea, as identified by Finberg in the inventory.1
Turner explicitly delineates clouds here, creating an ominous and blistering sky above the vulnerable ships. Broad, dashed strokes of the pencil send the full force of the weather careering towards the vessels from the heavens, emphasising man’s vulnerability in navigating treacherous waters.

Maud Whatley
January 2016

1
Finberg 1909, I, p.607.

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