About this artwork

A catch of fish is sorted and prepared in the foreground on the harbour quay. This bustle of human activity, captured with a few brushstrokes and echoed in a fishing boat on the right, contrasts with the relative calm of the harbour and open sea beyond. The dawn sky punctuated by the masts of fishing boats dominates the scene. Turner used the blue paper to great effect, conveying the colourful transition from night to day. This drawing may have been made during the mid 1820s when Turner first began to use blue paper.

see media

Joseph Mallord William Turner

Joseph Mallord William Turner

Turner transformed the art of landscape painting in Britain. From detailed topographical studies to expansive, atmospheric vistas his works celebrate the diversity and emotive power of nature. He was born in Covent Garden, the son of a barber, and exhibited his earliest sketches in his father's shop before studying at the Royal Academy Schools. Turner became the youngest ever full member of the Royal Academy in 1802. His experimental use of watercolour and oils achieved stunning effects, attracting contemporary criticism and praise. Turner's admiration of past masters, above all Claude Lorraine, and the numerous sketches made on many tours in Britain and abroad, provided the basis for his 'sublime' land and seascapes.