A Calm at a Mediterranean Port

Object Details


A Calm at a Mediterranean Port


Claude-Joseph Vernet (French, 1714 - 1789)






Oil on canvas


113 x 145.7 cm (44 1/2 x 57 3/8 in.)

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In brilliant detail, Claude-Joseph Vernet captured the gorgeous weather and leisurely activities of a day by the sea. Fishermen clean the day's catch on a stone pier while several people chat nearby, one of them pointing toward the large ship in the bay. Meanwhile, a man sits and smokes his pipe, the tobacco glowing a bright red. A cumulus cloud, perhaps the remnant of a distant storm, towers to the left of the setting sun. Warm tones of yellow, orange and red predominate, suggesting a hazy sunset after a bright day.

In A Calm, Vernet portrayed a completely peaceful scene in striking contrast to its pendant, A Storm on a Mediterranean Coast. Taken together, the two works show, on the one hand, nature's benevolence, and on the other, nature's fury.

1767 - 1779

Thomas King, fifth baron King, 1712 - 1779 (Ockham Park, Ripley, Surrey, England), commissioned from the artist, about 1767.

1779 - 1793

Peter King, sixth baron King, 1736 - 1793 (Ockham Park, Ripley, Surrey, England), by inheritance to Peter King, 1793.

1793 - 1833

Peter King, seventh baron King, 1775 - 1833 (Ockham Park, Ripley, Surrey, England), by inheritance to William King-Noel, 1833.

1833 - 1893

William King-Noel, first earl of Lovelace, died 1893 (Ockham Park, Ripley, Surrey, England), by inheritance to Ralph Gordon Noel King-Milbanke, 1893.

1893 - 1906

Ralph Gordon Noel King-Milbanke, second earl of Lovelace, died 1906 (Horsley Towers, Surrey, England), by inheritance to his half-brother, Lionel Fortescue King, 1906.

1906 - 1929

Lionel Fortescue King, third earl of Lovelace, died 1929 (Horsley Towers, Surrey, England), by inheritance to Peter Malcolm King, 1929.

1929 -

Peter Malcolm King, fourth earl of Lovelace (possibly Whitwell Hatch, Haselmere or Horsley Towers, Surrey, England) [Sotheby's, London. July 13, 1937, lot 114 (unsold).], by inheritance to his wife, Manon, countess of Lovelace.

- 1990

Manon, countess of Lovelace, died 1990, upon her death, held in trust by the estate.

1990 - 1993

Estate of Manon, countess of Lovelace, died 1990 [sold, Christie's, London, December 10, 1993, lot 55, to Richard Green Gallery]

1993 - 1994

Richard Green Gallery (London, England), sold to a private collector, 1994.

1994 - late 1990s

Private Collection (Paris, France)

by late 1990s

Richard Green Gallery (London, England), sold to a private collector.

Private Collection (London, England)


Richard Green Gallery (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002.

Autour de Claude-Joseph Vernet: La marine à voile de 1650 à 1890 (July to October, 1999) (Cat. 26; as "Port méditerranéen, temps calme, coucher de soleil")
  • Musée des beaux-arts (Rouen), July to October, 1999

Lagrange, Léon. Les Vernet: Joseph Vernet et la peinture au XVIIIe siècle (Paris: Didier, 1864) pp. 175, 348 (no. 237), 366 (no. 148).

Ingersoll-Smouse, Florence. Joseph Vernet, peintre de marine 1714-1789: étude critique et catalogue raisonné. 2 vols. (Paris: Etienne Bignou, 1926) vol. 2, p. 19, no. 910, pl. CV, fig. 230.

Sotheby's, London. Important Paintings of the Venetian Settecento, etc. The Property of the Rt. Hon. The Earl of Lovelace [...]. July 13, 1937 p. 36, lot 114.

Christie's, London. Important and Fine Old Master Pictures. December 10, 1993 pp. 94-96, lot 55, ill.

Pétry, Claude, et al. Autour de Claude-Joseph Vernet: La marine à voile de 1650 à 1890, exh. cat. (Rouen: Musée des Beaux-Arts, 1999) p. 121, no. 26, ill.

Conisbee, Philip. "The Shipwreck, 1772, by Claude-Joseph Vernet." In Mélanges en hommage à Pierre Rosenberg: Peintures et dessins en France et en Italie XVIIe-XVIIIe siècles (Paris: Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 2001) p. 153, note 3.

Wuhrmann, Sylvie. "Formes et fonctions de la famille dans les représentations de catastrophes naturelles au XVIIIe siècle: l'exemple de Claude-Joseph Vernet." In L'art et les normes sociales au XVIIIe siècle (Paris: Maison de sciences de l'homme, 2001) pp. 413-15, fig. 3.

Morris, Susan. Art Without Borders: European Old Master Paintings 1600-1820 (London: Richard Green, 2002) pp. 124-27, 177-79, no. 45, ill.

Christie's, London. The Champalimaud Collection Evening Sale. July 6, 2005 p. 62, under lot. 20, entry by Francis Russell.

Education Resources

Education Resource




And Then What Happened?

Lesson in which students identify nouns, verbs, and adjectives in landscape paintings, write narratives, and paint landscapes.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts


Two-Part Lesson

Language through Art (Beginning)

Lesson in which students study artwork related to exterior spaces, using vocabulary, adjectives, declarative/imperative sentences to describe weather.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts; ESL (English as a Second Language)

K-2; 3-5; 6-8; 9-12; Adult Learners

Single Class Lesson

Related Media
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    Audio: A Calm at a Mediteranean Port / A Storm on a Mediterranean Coast