Moonlight at Sea off the Isle of Wight

Frank Sir Short, 1896

WAG 4511

About this object

Turner intended the 'Liber Studiorum' to consist of 100 prints but only 71 were released during his lifetime. He did continue to work on potential prints for the 'Liber' after he had finished publishing the series. A number of related unfinished drawings and plates were found in his studio after his death.

The engraver Sir Frank Short (1857-1945) copied a selection of Turner's original 'Liber' prints as a student. He later engraved plates based on Turner's unfinished designs for the 'Liber'. This print, 'Moonlight at Sea off the Isle of Wight', was made by Short in 1896 based on one of these designs.

The 'Liber Studiorum' illustrated Turner’s arguments for the supremacy of landscape painting. The title means ‘book of studies’ in Latin. It contained no written text, instead it was made up of individual mezzotint prints on paper. They were released in fourteen parts from around 1807 until 1819.

The prints reflected the five categories of landscape painting Turner believed existed: architectural, historical, marine, mountainous and pastoral. Turner wrote an initial on each work to indicate which category it belonged to. It is unclear which category this print was intended to belong to.

Object specifics

  • Other title(s)
    Moonlight at Sea Off the Isle of Wight
  • Artist(s)
    Sir Frank Short (British, born:19 June 1857, died:22 April 1945)
  • Date
  • Materials
    Mezzotint; Paper
  • Measurements
    image: 21.1 cm x 27.7 cm
  • Physical description
    A seascape beneath a cloudy moonlit sky. A small boat filled with several figures and a light in the centre foreground. The chalk stacks which form The Needles, off the Isle of Wight, are visible on the horizon to the left.
  • Related people
    Sir Frank Short (Artist/maker); Joseph Mallord William Turner (Designed by)
  • Other number(s)
    WAG Inventory Number: 4511
  • Credit line
    Purchased by the Walker Art Gallery in 1898
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Collection
    From the Walker Art Gallery collections


Item inscriptions

  • Inscription text: From an unpublished drawing in the Liber Studiorum in the possession of Henry Vaugham Esq.
    Inscription method: Printed
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Below Plate
  • Inscription text: Frank Short
    Inscription method: Pencil
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Front; Lower right
  • Inscription text: 1896
    Inscription method:
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location:
  • Inscription text: Symbol
    Inscription method: Printed
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: On plate; Lower right
Object view = Fine Art
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