JMW Turner had a life-long obsession with the sea- from the tempestuous painting ‘Snowstorm’ to the fiercely dramatic pictures of whalers embattled by sea monsters. In this exhibition, Turner's position as Britain's greatest maritime painter is celebrated.
When Turner began painting, the subject of the sea had reached its greatest moment in British history. Sailing had been refined down to an art, trade was booming, and an empire was covering the globe. Whether the artist did in fact lash himself to the mast of the Ariel in order to record the gale that blew up after leaving Harwich docks is uncertain, yet what Turner found in the sea was a subject vast enough to fit the size of his own gifts.
This exhibition charts the changes in attitude to the sea through the paintings of Turner. From the heroic scenes painted during the Napoleonic wars to the beginning of Britain’s decline as a sea-faring nation, it encapsulates a time of great change in the history of Britain.