J. M. W. Turner has been called the most original genius in landscape painting of the 19th century. His work was highly controversial and violently attacked by some, but many regarded him as the outstanding painter of his day. “He seems to paint with tinted steam,” English painter John Constable famously wrote. Turner had an extraordinary ability to paint light, especially as it affected his principal love, the sea. He sprang to fame with Fishermen at Sea, a 1796 work showing the influence of 17th-century Dutch marine painting. Over the next 15 years, he gradually developed a mastery, unrivaled in the history of art, of rendering the sea in all its motions and under every condition of light and weather. Sheerness as Seen from the Nore, exhibited at Turner’s own gallery in 1808, stands near the end of a decade of powerful and inventive marine paintings and is one of the masterpieces of his early period.

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Joseph Mallord William Turner, English, 1775–1851
Sheerness as seen from the Nore
Oil on canvas
41 1/8 × 58 7/8 in. (104.5 × 149.6 cm)
Credit Line

Museum purchase funded by the Alice Pratt Brown Museum Fund, the Brown Foundation Accessions Endowment Fund, Isabel B. and Wallace S. Wilson, The Brown Foundation, Inc., and Ann Trammell

Current Location
The Audrey Jones Beck Building
Accession Number

Believed to have been purchased directly from the artist in 1808 by Samuel Dobree, Esq. (1759-1827); thence by descent to his son Harry Hankey Dobree, Esq. (1787-1841); his sale [ Christie's London, June 17, 1842, lot 12 (170 gns to Crockford)]; acquired from the above by Bryant (according to a note in the Dobree sale catalogue in the Courtauld Institute) on behalf of Sir Thomas Baring, 2nd Bt (1772-1848); his sale [Christie's London, June 2, 1848, lot 61 (550 gns of William Wells of Redleaf)]; William Wells sale [ Christie's London, May 10, 1890, lot 72 (7,100 gns to Agnew's on behalf of Robert Loyd Lindsay, 1st Lord Wantage)]; Robert Loyd Lindsay, 1st Lord Wantage (1832-1901); by descent in the Loyd Collection, Lockinge, until 1991; Idenmitsu Kosan (Company), Tokyo, Japan; museum purchase 2005.