Solar Effect in the Clouds - Ocean thumbnail 1
Solar Effect in the Clouds - Ocean thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H

Solar Effect in the Clouds - Ocean

Photograph
1856 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

When first shown, the luminous, shimmering effects of such images amid Le Gray’s otherwise dark seascapes were often mistaken for moonlight. It is easy to see why this misconception arose from these monochrome images, where darkness encroaches from the edges of the scene. In fact, Le Gray achieved the moonlight effect by pointing the camera in the direction of the sun during daylight. Absent from this scene are boats, heavy waves or any sign of humanity. The viewer is left in confrontation with the sea and potentially threatening clouds.

Collodion-on-glass negatives were introduced in 1851. Le Gray adopted them in preference to paper negatives to achieve maximum sharpness coupled with even faster exposure times. The glass plate was covered with a solution of ether and guncotton (cotton steeped in nitric and sulphuric acids). It was then sensitised. The negative had to be exposed in the camera while still wet and developed immediately afterwards.

Most of the V&A’s fine group of Le Gray seascapes came to the Museum in 1868 as part of the bequest of the millionaire art collector Chauncy Hare Townshend. He had kept them in portfolios along with his watercolours, etchings and engravings. They have therefore remained in excellent condition, preserved to museum standards almost since they were made.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Additional TitleVue de Mer, le Soleil (assigned by artist)
Materials and Techniques
Albumen print from collodion on glass negative
Brief Description
Photographic seascape
Physical Description
seascape, albumen silver photograph, mounted
Dimensions
  • Image height: 30.9cm
  • Image width: 39.7cm
  • Mount height: 52.2cm
  • Mount width: 67.3cm
Marks and Inscriptions
  • 2031 (lower corner of mount; inscribed)
  • 106 (lower left corner of photo; inscribed)
  • Vue de mer, Le Soleil. (on mount; inscribed; red ink)
  • Gustave Le Gray (lower left of print; stamped; red ink)
  • BRITISH MUSEUM 1857 3 14 62 (reverse of mount; stamped)
  • PHOTOGRAPHIE GUSTAVE LE GRAY & CO PARIS (mount; blind stamped)
Credit line
Transferred from the British Museum
Subjects depicted
Summary
When first shown, the luminous, shimmering effects of such images amid Le Gray’s otherwise dark seascapes were often mistaken for moonlight. It is easy to see why this misconception arose from these monochrome images, where darkness encroaches from the edges of the scene. In fact, Le Gray achieved the moonlight effect by pointing the camera in the direction of the sun during daylight. Absent from this scene are boats, heavy waves or any sign of humanity. The viewer is left in confrontation with the sea and potentially threatening clouds.



Collodion-on-glass negatives were introduced in 1851. Le Gray adopted them in preference to paper negatives to achieve maximum sharpness coupled with even faster exposure times. The glass plate was covered with a solution of ether and guncotton (cotton steeped in nitric and sulphuric acids). It was then sensitised. The negative had to be exposed in the camera while still wet and developed immediately afterwards.



Most of the V&A’s fine group of Le Gray seascapes came to the Museum in 1868 as part of the bequest of the millionaire art collector Chauncy Hare Townshend. He had kept them in portfolios along with his watercolours, etchings and engravings. They have therefore remained in excellent condition, preserved to museum standards almost since they were made.
Bibliographic Reference
Ebloussants reflets. Normandie Impressionniste - Rouen Rouen: musées des Beaux-Arts, 2013. ISBN: 9782711860623.
Collection
Accession Number
E.1340-2000

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record createdMay 19, 2003
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