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The Evening Star

Photo credit: The National Gallery, London

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In contrast to many of Turner’s paintings – often full of activity, grand architectural settings, dramatic weather and dazzling effects of colour and light – this painting looks almost empty. The only figure is a barely visible young boy with a shrimping net over his shoulder, who wades in from the shoreline to be greeted by a small leaping dog. The ghostly trace of a boat to the right of centre, which has been painted over, suggests that Turner decided to emphasise the vastness of the sky and sea rather than human industry.

The title, The Evening Star, was not Turner’s, but was given to the painting decades later because of the presence of a star – a tiny dab of thick white paint. Although originally thought to be unfinished, Turner may actually have been satisfied with the painting’s evocation of a particular moment and not seen the need for additional work on it.

The National Gallery, London



The Evening Star


about 1830


Oil on canvas


H 91.1 x W 122.6 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Turner Bequest, 1856

Work type



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Normally on display at

The National Gallery, London

Trafalgar Square, London, Greater London WC2N 5DN England

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