Peace shows the burial at sea of Turner’s friend, the artist David Wilkie. The cool palette and saturated blacks create a striking contrast to its pair, War, and conveys the calm of Wilkie’s dignified death, compared to Napoleon’s disgrace.
Joseph Mallord William Turner
Peace - Burial at Sea
87 x 86.7 cm
Oil on canvas
Date of work
Original: Oil on canvas 87 x 86.7 cm ® Tate, London
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.