Arts & Culture

The Harbor of Dieppe

Joseph Mallord William TurnerAround 1826

The Frick Collection
The Frick Collection

Midway in his career, Turner was working on three large canvases depicting northern continental ports—Dieppe and Cologne, in The Frick Collection, and the Dutch harbor of Dordrecht, a painting now at the Yale Center for British Art. The artist worked from sketches he had made on site in earlier years, detailing the structures along the right side of the paintings, many of which still stand today. Long before the advent of steamships and railroads, Dieppe—rendered here by Turner around 1826—had been one of the key French ports for goods coming and going from England. However, Turner did not choose to focus on these two sites in order to document the history of shipping, but rather to try to capture the glorious light that each day transformed the harbor in the early morning. He painted the sun twice in Dieppe, as a ball of white fire in the sky, and as a slightly muted reflection in the water below. As usual, Turner's critics were baffled by his daring, though one sensitively admitted that "amidst all this glitter and gaud of colors, it is impossible to shut our eyes to the wonderful skill, and to the lightness and brilliancy which he has effected."

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Details

  • Title: The Harbor of Dieppe
  • Date Created: Around 1826
  • Physical Dimensions: w2254.25 x h1737.11 in
  • Type: painting
  • External Link: http://collections.frick.org/view/objects/asitem/items$0040:268
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Style: Seascape
  • Provenance: James Wadmore. His sale, May 5-6, 1854, Christie's, Lot 185, sold for 1,850 guineas to Grundy, probably for John Naylor, Leighton Hall, Welshpool, Montgomeryshire. Mrs. Naylor. Bought from her, together with Cologne, by Agnew and Sulley, through Dyer and Sons, for a total of £42,000. Knoedler. Frick, 1914. Source: Paintings in The Frick Collection: American, British, Dutch, Flemish and German. Volume I. New York: The Frick Collection, 1968.
  • Painter: Joseph Mallord William Turner
  • Original Title: The Harbor of Dieppe

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