Turner watercolour Sunrise Over The Sea sells for more than £1m

Turner sunrise watercolour sells for more that £1 million at auction (James Manning/PA)
Turner sunrise watercolour sells for more that £1 million at auction (James Manning/PA)

JMW Turner’s watercolour Sunrise Over The Sea has passed auction estimates to sell for more than £1 million.

The “breathtakingly beautiful” piece features bold yellows, oranges and blues to capture the changing sunlight over what is thought to be Margate seaside.

It had been expected to fetch between £600,000 and £800,000 during Christie’s Old Master and British Drawings and Watercolours sale.

On Tuesday Christie’s revealed the work had been sold for a total of £1,032,200.

Harriet Drummond, international head of british drawings and watercolours at the auctioneer, said the price had reflected in part the care with which the painting had been kept.

“I am absolutely thrilled with the result for this breathtakingly beautiful watercolour by Turner, which far exceeded our pre-sale expectations and flew above the estimate,” Ms Drummond said.

Sunrise Over The Sea is believed to have been created by Turner in the later years of his celebrated career before he died in 1851 aged 76.

The artist’s earliest connection with Margate can be traced back to the 1780s, when he was a teenager, but it was from the early 1830s that he revisited the seaside on the north coast of Kent while he was researching scenes for artwork and became a regular visitor.

Sunrise Over The Sea by JMW Turner (Christie’s Images Limited 2023/PA)

The Turner Contemporary art gallery in Margate is on the site of the boarding house where he stayed during his visits.

Sunrise Over The Sea was previously owned by Turner’s landlady in Margate, Sophia Caroline Booth.

Art collector Walter Brandt, who focused on British watercolours, later acquired it.

Ms Drummond added: “The price reflects the curatorial care with which it had been looked after by the family of Walter Brandt, the importance of this notable provenance and the pervasive appeal of this subject – which evidently resonated with many collectors across continents.”