Listening to Haughton Forrest’s “Ships in a Storm”

Haughton Forrest was a French born artist who immigrated to Australia in 1881. Forrest’s paintings of wild stormy seas and tranquil countrysides belong to the aesthetic of the Romantic Period. Ships in a Storm is typical of his portrayal of the ocean as an inhospitable space which refuses to be tamed by human activities.

Ships in a Storm follows in the lineage of other Romantic artists, such as Turner and Delacroix, who chose to depict scenes of boats in peril. In this early industrial era there was a general feeling of nostalgia for the past, with many artists and writers reflecting upon the precariousness of a society which was losing contact with nature.

This sound composition moves from the breakwater and climbs aboard both boats as they sway and creak in the rough sea. Bells ring from the boats indicate their proximity to each other. Here sound acts as a guide in the darkness of the storm.

5 thoughts on “Listening to Haughton Forrest’s “Ships in a Storm”

  1. Simply wonderful! You’ve captured the essence of 19th century romanticism perfectly in sound. These sounds could equally represent Emilie Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’, GĂ©ricault’s ‘Raft of the Medusa’ or Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. I love your ‘Sound and Art’ concept but this example, for me at least, is the best so far because it reaches out far beyond just one picture. Your sounds are a statement of the age of romanticism.


    1. Thanks Des! It took a while to piece this one together. I think you are right with your comment, the sounds (and fear of) a storm at sea translate beyond a single regional area. I think the Romantic period is going to be a good place to find some more works to interpret.


  2. Reblogged this on synkroniciti and commented:
    Much like painters may create landscapes, sound artists may create soundscapes, like this one of the sea during a storm. The evocative power of these constructions are undeniable and art galleries are employing these sound artists to add a new and powerful element to their shows. Here is a reblog from Sounds Like Noise featuring a sea soundscape inspired by a painting, Haughton Forrest’s Ships in a Storm. It is quite magical.



  3. Beautiful! I was looking for sea sounds art and I am so glad I found your blog. I reblogged to as part of an ocean theme we are running this week. Thank you so much! This so evocative.


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