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Beginning in the 1830s, Turner was a regular visitor to the seaside town of Margate in Kent, on the southern coast of England, where he made numerous depictions of the view outside the window of his lodgings, the scene on which this painting is most probably based. It is highly unlikely that 'The Morning after the Wreck' depicts an actual event, being more 'an amalgam of Turner’s lifetime’s experience of seashore activity.' We see a foreshore view of the beach at Margate, on which indistinct figures huddle together, picking over the debris that litters the sand. Turner’s watercolour-like treatment of oil paint is particularly evident here, in the fading suggestion of a harbour wall to the far left of the canvas and in the shadowy form of the central ship, which perhaps, like that in 'The Fighting Temeraire', signals the end of an era.
oil on canvas
H 38.7 x W 61.8 cm
NMW A 436
bequeathed by Gwendoline Davies, 1951