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Turner's The Fighting Temeraire

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Turner's The Fighting Temeraire

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Turner's The Fighting Temeraire

Joseph Mallord William Turner, one of the finest landscape artists England has ever produced, had a special place in his heart for this beautiful painting, The Fighting Temeraire. He referred to it as "my darling" and like many of his other paintings, he refused to sell it. A symbol of the changing times as the industrial revolution took hold and sailing ships were replaced by steam, the painting shows the ship that saved the Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar being towed to a breaker's yard at Rotherhithe by a modern steam tug.  To read more about the Battle of Trafalgar, click here.

Classic Turner, the painting is suffused with dramatic light – and a generous dollop of inspirational artistic license. As other observers confirmed at the time, the symbolic sunset behind the Temeraire was a product of Turner’s imagination, as were the ship’s masts, rigging and guns, which would have been removed before she made her final journey.

Photo: Topham/David Wimsett/UPPA/Photoshot


Your comments

This famous painting by Turner of the Temeraire in her final days being towed off to scrap is a true icon. It was recently voted the British people's favourite painting in 2005. This incidently coincided neatly with the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar celebrations.

Alex Naughton

In the book "Modern Painters" (5 volumes) by Smith Elder & Co, Volume 1, (1848) there is mention of Turner painting this scene three times. Does anyone have knowledge of this? and if so, is the location of the other two known?
Douglas R. Carpenter

His work makes the light dance,I feel the warmth shine out at me and he inspires me to continue painting to improve my technique.

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My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry