Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sunset amid Dark Clouds over the Sea


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In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour and chalk on paper
Support: 222 × 330 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCLIII 1

Display caption

This study was formerly part of a sketchbook containing studies of whaling vessels. These sketches may have played a part in the creative process of the three oil on canvas whaling subjects on display downstairs. On this sheet, which was painted at much the same time, Turner has used coloured chalks, as well as watercolour, to create an intense and sombre sunset. Unfortunately, the sheet was among the works of art that were damaged when the Thames flooded the lower floor of the Tate Gallery in 1928; the central part of the drawing is still noticeably blotted.

Gallery label, September 2004

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