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A cross-channel ferry (a packet), fully laden with passengers and flying a British flag, is approaching the port of Calais. Around it, small French fishing boats (‘poissards’) head out to sea. The water is rough and dark storm clouds gather, although a shaft of sunlight breaks through to illuminate the white sail in the centre of the picture. In the lower right foreground, a small fishing boat is trying to get away to avoid being battered against the pier. The scene looks chaotic and there is a risk of collision.
The National Gallery, London
Calais Pier, with French Poissards preparing for Sea: an English Packet arriving
Oil on canvas
H 172 x W 240 cm
Turner Bequest, 1856