Catalogue entry

251. [N00556] Second Sketch for ‘The Battle of Trafalgar’ c. 1822–3


Canvas, 35 1/2 × 47 3/4 (90 × 121)

Coll. Turner Bequest 1856 (15, ‘Battle of Trafalgar’ 4'0" × 3' 0"); transferred to the Tate Gallery 1931.

Exh. Australian tour 1960 (6); on loan to the National Maritime Museum 1975–84.

Lit. Thornbury 1862, i, p. 349; 1877, p. 467; Armstrong 1902, p. 233; Davies 1946, p. 185.

The second oil sketch for the large picture begun in 1823 for George IV, No. 252. For differences between this and the first sketch see No. 250.[N05480] In the final picture the group of figures in the foreground is changed, though the general massing is the same. The Victory is twisted very slightly to emphasise the fact that it is approaching the spectator and the sails, particularly in the centre, are again altered. The other ships are also different, and in particular that on the right, seen stern on in both sketches, is now shown at an angle.

Published in:
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984