A Shipwreck in Stormy Seas

'Storm on a Coast' is a sensational storm and shipwreck scene depicting lashing rain, ships tossed on the sea and survivors scrambling to safety. Like 'Landscape at Sunset', the effects of light create visual drama in the contrast between the darkness of the sea and the sun breaking through the storm clouds.

Vernet was renowned for pairs of paintings showing contrasting states of nature and his works were especially sought-after by British collectors in the 18th-century. This painting and its pendant, 'A Landscape at Sunset' are now the only such pair to be found in a British public collection. The pair originally belonged to the celebrated Englishman Clive of India, who bought them from Vernet in 1773. They are acknowledged as being two of Vernet's greatest marine pictures.

Key facts

Artist dates
1714 - 1789
Full title
A Shipwreck in Stormy Seas
Date made
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
114.5 x 163.5 cm
Inscription summary
Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit
Acquired with a donation from the American Friends of the National Gallery, London, made possible by a gift from David H. Koch, 2004
Inventory number
Location in Gallery

Other paintings in the group: Two Landscapes: A Sunset and a Storm

Claude-Joseph Vernet
Claude-Joseph Vernet: 'A Landscape at Sunset'