Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H

Seascape with Cloud Study

Photograph
1856-57 (photographed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Gustave Le Gray’s seascapes are one of the greatest achievements in the art of photography. Their exquisite tonal quality, impressive scale and innovative exposure and printing methods set high technical standards, while also elevating the evocative and poetic capacity of the new medium.

Le Gray was born in 1820 near Paris and trained there as a painter. Around 1847 he took up photography. His seascapes were, and are still, his greatest public, commercial and aesthetic success. He took them on the French coast at Normandy in the summer of 1856 and a second set from the Mediterranean coast in spring 1857, though it is not known at which location this image was made.

Despite its title, the image shows almost no sea and is more of a cloud study, concentrating upon the massive, billowing formations. In his writing, Le Gray set out a ‘theory of sacrifices’. This suggested that in a work of art detail could be sacrificed in the interests of the overall impression of light and shade. Here he illustrates that theory using the most ethereal of subject matters.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Additional TitleVue de mer, Ciel Nuageux (assigned by artist)
Materials and Techniques
Albumen silver photograph
Brief Description
Le Gray, Gustave. 'Vue de Mer, Ciel Nuageux', 19th c., albumen print
Physical Description
seascape, albumen silver photograph, mounted
Dimensions
  • Image height: 30.1cm
  • Image width: 40.7cm
  • Mount height: 52.9cm
  • Mount width: 67.3cm
Marks and Inscriptions
  • vue de mer, Ciel Nuageux (lower left of mount; inscribed)
  • 1784 (lower left corner of mount; printed)
  • 105 (lower left corner of print; printed)
  • Gustave le Gray (Maker's identification; lower left corner; stamped; red ink)
  • BRITISH MUSEUM 3 1857 14 61 (reverse of mount; stamped)
Credit line
Transferred from the British Museum
Object history
Acquired by the British Museum in 1857 and transferred to the V&A in 2000
Subjects depicted
Summary
Gustave Le Gray’s seascapes are one of the greatest achievements in the art of photography. Their exquisite tonal quality, impressive scale and innovative exposure and printing methods set high technical standards, while also elevating the evocative and poetic capacity of the new medium.



Le Gray was born in 1820 near Paris and trained there as a painter. Around 1847 he took up photography. His seascapes were, and are still, his greatest public, commercial and aesthetic success. He took them on the French coast at Normandy in the summer of 1856 and a second set from the Mediterranean coast in spring 1857, though it is not known at which location this image was made.



Despite its title, the image shows almost no sea and is more of a cloud study, concentrating upon the massive, billowing formations. In his writing, Le Gray set out a ‘theory of sacrifices’. This suggested that in a work of art detail could be sacrificed in the interests of the overall impression of light and shade. Here he illustrates that theory using the most ethereal of subject matters.
Bibliographic Reference
Apollo Magazine, February 2007
Collection
Accession Number
E.1339-2000

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdMay 20, 2003
Record URL