ObeliskJoseph Mallord William Turner

The Battle of Trafalgar

The Battle of Trafalgar, 1824, Joseph Mallord William Turner
The Battle of Trafalgar, zoomed in
261.5 cm368.5 cm

The Battle of Trafalgar is a Romantic Oil on Canvas Painting created by Joseph Mallord William Turner from 1822 to 1824. It lives at the National Maritime Museum, London in London. The image is in the Public Domain, and tagged Ocean, Storms, Boats and Seascapes. SourceDownload

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J.M.W. Turner was a great admirer of Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson, the unconventional tactition and brilliant leader of the British Navy at the close of the 18th century. In 1822, King George IV commissioned Turner to commemorate Lord Nelson’s victory and tragic death at the Battle of Trafalgar, Turner’s first and only royal commission. While Turner had painted the Battle of Trafalgar multiple times, he exhaustively researched his new work, studying Lord Nelson’s ship, the “Victory,” even requesting the ship’s plan from the admirality and working with marine artist J. C. Schetky to capture accurate perspective.

In a last nod to his hero, the ship’s signal flags spell out “DUTY” — after Lord Nelson’s last words: ‘Thank God I have done my duty.”

Reed Enger, "The Battle of Trafalgar," in Obelisk Art History, Published October 23, 2015; last modified May 19, 2021, http://arthistoryproject.com/artists/joseph-mallord-william-turner/the-battle-of-trafalgar/.

Further reading atcollections.rmg.co.uk
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