La Ferté

The site of this fresh and immediate sketch has been cautiously identified as that of La Ferté in the estuary of La Somme, on the Picardy coast. The north coast of France was frequently travelled by Bonington, and provided him with a wealth of subjects for his coast scenes. La Ferté and nearby St.Valèry-sur-Somme were among his favourite haunts and those of his painting companions, Paul Huet and Thomas Shotter Boys.

This work is a study made on the spot. The whole is quickly and fluidly painted, with the stretches of sand, sea and sky painted with broad horizontal sweeps of the brush. On the horizon vertical sweeps indicate rain showers. Certain details, such as the boat on the left and the small boat to the right in the distance are painted wet-in-wet, but others, such as the boat on the right and the figure of the woman were likely to have been added in the studio.

Key facts

Artist dates
1802 - 1828
Full title
La Ferté
Date made
about 1825
Medium and support
Oil on fibre board
16.7 x 27.9 cm
Acquisition credit
Accepted by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the National Gallery, 2012.
Inventory number
Location in Gallery