A contemporary reviewer termed this a ’‘British epic picture the first picture of the kind that has ever been exhibited’. This work depicts the chaos of battle but also the intimate moments of Admiral Nelson’s tragic death. Sails and smoke create a claustrophobic backdrop and the action appears to thrust menacingly outwards to the viewer.
Joseph Mallord William Turner
The Battle of Trafalgar, as Seen from the Mizen Starboard Shrouds of the Victory
170.8 x 238.8 cm
Date of work
Oil paint on canvas 170.8 x 238.8 cm
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.