There is a glint of red at the centre where the sun has reached the horizon of the unsettled sea, tinting the rolling clouds obscuring it in a blood-like hue. This strongly toned, velvety-textured ‘Little Liber’-like design1 may show the direct influence of Francis Danby’s 1824 painting Sunset at Sea after a Storm (Bristol Museum and Art Gallery), a sensation on its first appearance, as discussed in the overall Introduction to the present section.2
Eric Shanes has compared this work with the canonical ‘Little Liber’ watercolour St Michael’s Mount (Tate D25434; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 311),3 and Ian Warrell has noted a similarity to the perhaps even more apocalyptic Tate D25429 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 306).4 The effect clearly stayed with Turner, as he made a similarly intense variation in the Whalers sketchbook of about 1845 (Tate D35240; Turner Bequest CCCLIII 1).
Blank; laid down. White wove paper backing sheet inscribed in pencil ‘76’ right of centre, ascending vertically; inscribed in pencil ‘CCLXIII.305’ bottom centre; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram over ‘CCLXIII – 305’ bottom left.