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This work was acquired as a smaller scale version by J M W Turner his larger painting of the same name which is now in the Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon. It is now believed that this is possibly a copy by by James Pyne, who was very much influenced by Turner's work.
As a Romantic, Turner drew on the fate and trials of humanity, set against tumultuous sea and sky. In Wreck of a Transport Ship, the convict ship (which may have held military rather than civilian prisoners) has capsized, casting guards and prisoners alike to a watery fate. Heroically, local fishing boats risk danger to come to their aid, but at a time when most people were unable to swim, the loss of life when ships foundered was invariably very high. In his treatment of landscape, Turner was a master at conveying what Andrew Wilton describes as the 'grandeur of the natural world in a language that is artificial and yet at the same time poetically true to observed life'. His marine paintings convey the sea in its every mood: sublimely grand and threatening, dissolving into a mist of opalescent light or other similarly spectacular atmospheric effects created by dense fog, sunrise or sunset.
- The Wreck of a transport ship
- Production date
- circa 1849
- oil on canvas
- 876 x 521 mm
- Credit line
- Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1956
- Accession no
- No known copyright restrictions
- International Art
- Display status
- Not on display
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