Sunday, March 25, 2007


Painted in 1842 by English master Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1857), whose style can be said to have laid the foundation for Impressionism. Turner entered the Royal Academy schools in 1789, when he was only 14 years old, and was accepted into the academy a year later. He is commonly known as "the painter of light".

He died in the house of his mistress Sophia Caroline Booth in Chelsea in 1851. He is said to have uttered the last words "The sun is God" before expiring. At his request he was buried in St Paul's cathedral.

This watercolour is one of three finished drawings of this subject that are regarded as amongst the finest achievements not only of Turner, but also of the watercolour medium. The watercolour was acquired after a successful public appeal by The Art Fund which raised over £550,000 in just over 5 weeks.

It was bought for 80 guineas by Elhanan Bicknell in 1842 ; then it was successively sold at Christie’s in 1863, bought by art dealer Agnew’s for J.E.Taylor ; again sold by Christie’s in 1912 and in 1942. Agnew’s bought it again for a private collection; it was bought in 1959 at Christie's for 32450 Pounds and finally at Christie’s in 2006 for a private collection for £5,832,000 ($11,480,276).

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