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Turner was as much a marine painter as a landscape artist; this is one of his history paintings set at sea. In 1807 he went to Portsmouth to see the arrival of two captured Danish ships and make sketches upon which this painting was based. The original title (as above) referred to this event.
By the time the work was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1809, political outcry against the operation was such that he felt it advisable to change the title to ‘Boat’s crew recovering an anchor’.

September 2011