About this artwork

Two sailing boats tossed around convey the force of the wind and waves. They pale into insignificance, however, beneath the magnificent sky. A break in the dark clouds reveals a brilliant patch of sunlight which illuminates the distant coast. Turner made full use of the blue paper and body-colour to achieve a remarkable intensity of colour. He began to work on blue paper in the mid 1820s and this drawing was probably made around that time.

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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.