Actually this is entitled Keelmen Heaving in Coals by Moonlight. Turner painted this moonlit view of ships on the River Tyne in 1835. I had to look this up but keelmen were stevedores who largely transferred coal from barges (keels) to oceangoing vessels.
Glorious really. Just sense your eyes being drawn through the ship cluttered river channel through to the distant irradiating sky and water.
This painting was commissioned as a symbolic salute to commerce by Henry McConnel, a British textile manufacturer, as a pendent to Venice: The Dogana and San Giorgio Maggiore shown below. What a contrast in mood if not meaning. The scene basks in the warm Mediterranean sunlight and relates to trade, seemingly ancient, of luxury goods, of which no doubt silk formed part, whereas the Tyneside companion piece reveals sooty modern industry chilled by the colors of the North Sea winter’s night.
I think the patron had excellent taste and can take some credit for the concept. Unfortunately he had to sell the pictures during a business downturn. He much regretted selling these Turners and tried, unsuccessfully, to buy at least one of them back. Luckily they remain together today and can be seen at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC (to avoid all doubt – there is a Washington close to the Tyne itself).