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Fishing Boats with Hucksters Bargaining for Fish

Large marine landscape of boats on rough waves, storm clouds.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Large marine landscape of boats on rough waves, storm clouds.




Joseph Mallord William Turner
English, 1775-1851

About this artwork

In Fishing Boats with Hucksters Bargaining for Fish, Joseph Mallord William Turner translated his enduring preoccupation with the sea into a dramatic vision. The subject itself and the painting’s low horizon line derive directly from seventeenth-century Dutch sea painting. But where the boats in the seascapes of the period are almost reconstructible in their exactness, Turner’s minimal and more impressionistic depiction of vessels is secondary to the drama of roiling seas, billowing sails, and a threatening sky. With just a few figurative details, Turner roughly sketched in the standing, gesturing figure on the right, who is negotiating to buy fish from the larger, crowded fishing boat on the left. Between them is a mythical golden boat that seems to spring from the artist’s imagination, and on the distant horizon is the suggestion of progress, a steam-driven vessel. With his manipulation of translucent and opaque pigments to create a sense of atmosphere and light, Turner alluded to the insignificance of man in the face of nature’s mysterious and sublime power.


Currently Off View


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Joseph Mallord William Turner


Fishing Boats with Hucksters Bargaining for Fish


England (Object made in)




Oil on canvas


Inscribed on top flag of nearest boat: J.M.W. Turner


174.5 × 224.9 cm (68 3/4 × 88 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Kimball Collection

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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