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.