The first of four pictures telling the story of Aeneas's stay at Carthage, delayed from his destiny in Italy by his love for Dido. Aeneas stands on the left in his cloak of Tyrian purple, attended by Cupid. Mercury, who according to Turner's poem Fallacies of Hope 'waited to tell him of his neglected fleet' is not discernible, having perhaps melted into thin air as Virgil's story describes.
Joseph Mallord William Turner
Mercury sent to Admonish Aeneas
The EY Exhibition: Late Turner - Painting Set Free
90 x 121cm
Oil on canvas
Date of work
Original: Oil on canvas 90 x 121 cm Tate. Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Joseph Mallord William Turner was born in London; he remained a Londoner and kept a Cockney accent all his life despite dominating British landscape painting throughout the first half of the 19th century. He established a reputation in the Royal Academy, first as a topographical watercolourist and then within a few years as a painter of sublime and historical landscapes. From the mid-1790s he settled on the routine he maintained for much of his life: touring in summer and working in the studio in the winter months. He opened his own gallery and had many patrons and admirers as well as detractors. After his death a large body of his works in oil and watercolour was given to the British nation, with many on show at Tate Britain.