'The Wreck Buoy', Joseph Mallord William Turner

Seascape painting with boats

The art critic John Ruskin, a great admirer of Turner, described this as:

"...the last oil he painted before his noble hand forgot its cunning."

It is a re-working of an earlier picture and a summation of Turner’s concern with the sea. The artist’s pessimistic view of human endeavour and the fallacy of hope is symbolised by the rainbow and the wreck buoy beneath it.  

'The Wreck Buoy' featured in 'Mr. Turner' film

Can you spot 'The Wreck Buoy' in this behind the scenes trailer for Mike Leigh's 2014 film, 'Mr. Turner'? 


Artwork details

Medium:Oil on canvas
Date: Painted about 1807, reworked 1849 
Accession No:WAG 310