This work is unfinished. Although it is known as Sunrise with Sea Monsters, the likely subject is fish or fishing. The pink shape at the bottom of the work is probably fish and part of a float and net can be seen nearby. Turner had a lifelong passion for fishing and the sea and these were the subjects of many of his paintings.
Joseph Mallord William Turner
Sunrise with Sea Monsters
91.4 x 121.9 cm
Date of work
Oil paint on canvas 91.4 x 121.9 cm
Joseph Mallord William Turner was born in London; he remained a Londoner and kept a Cockney accent all his life despite dominating British landscape painting throughout the first half of the 19th century. He established a reputation in the Royal Academy, first as a topographical watercolourist and then within a few years as a painter of sublime and historical landscapes. From the mid-1790s he settled on the routine he maintained for much of his life: touring in summer and working in the studio in the winter months. He opened his own gallery and had many patrons and admirers as well as detractors. After his death a large body of his works in oil and watercolour was given to the British nation, with many on show at Tate Britain.