Joseph Mallord William Turner

Diagram of Ship Positions at the Battle of Trafalgar


View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Graphite on paper
Support: 114 x 184 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXXXIX 24 a

Catalogue entry

Drawn with the sketchbook inverted. See folio 9 verso of the sketchbook (D05456) for another diagram of the battle. Here the ships drawn in outline and named in Turner’s annotations are the French Redoutable (see folio 10, D05457; Turner Bequest LXXXIX 11), the British Temeraire and the French Fougueux. Indicated by initials or otherwise are the French Bucentaure (see folio 9 verso), the British Neptune and possibly the British Conqueror. The only ship to carry four tiers of guns was the Spanish Santissima Trinidad (see chiefly folio 21 verso, D05458; Turner Bequest LXXXIX 12). As with other diagrams in the book, this is crudely drawn, perhaps initially by an eye-witness to the battle who Turner met aboard the Victory.

David Blayney Brown
March 2006

Read full Catalogue entry