This vibrant work depicts Houses of Parliament on fire on 16 October 1834. Turner along with hundreds of other astonished onlookers made his way up the Thames by boat to witness it.
Joseph Mallord William Turner
The Burning of the Houses of Parliament
30 x 44.4 cm
Date of work
Watercolour and gouache on paper 30 x 44.4 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.