This is work is part of a pair depicting the rise and fall of the Carthage empire. The decline is symbolised by the setting sun. The style of this painting is inspired by the work of the painter Claude Lorrain, a Master painter whom Turner much admired. The other half of this work hangs next a work of Lorrain’s at the National Gallery, at Turner’s request.
Joseph Mallord William Turner
The Decline of the Carthaginian Empire
170.2 x 238.8 cm
Date of work
Oil paint on canvas 170.2 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.