The title is not Turner's own, but is taken from some lines of Turner's verse scribbled in a sketchbook used in 1829-30. Turner was deeply interested in such transitional moments in nature: the evening star first appears in daylight and is soon supplanted by the stronger light of the moon. Here the pale point of the star is barely discernible in the sky, but is reflected clearly in the sea; in both places the star consists of thickly applied white paint.
In the foreground is a boy with a shrimping net and a small leaping dog. The painting is generally regarded as a study of the effects of light and atmosphere, rather than a finished work.