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Calais Sands at Low Water: Poissards Collecting Bait

Photo credit: Bury Art Museum

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This extraordinary painting by Turner is probably the finest and most important picture in the entire collection at Bury. It was shown at the Royal Academy in 1830. At one level the picture is a view of Calais with enough recognisable elements in it to establish the location, notably the jetty and Fort Rouge on the left-hand side. At another level it is a scene from everyday life with fisherwomen busy gathering bait on the beach in order to bait the lines for the next day’s fishing. However both of these pale into insignificance in comparison to the real subject, which is the spectacular sunset that dominates about half of the picture surface and illuminates the limitless expanse of sand, water and sky, creating long shimmering reflections and subtle blends of colour.

Bury Art Museum





oil on canvas


H 68.5 x W 105.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

acquired as part of the Wrigley Gift

Work type



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Bury Art Museum

Moss Street, Bury, Greater Manchester BL9 0DF England

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