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Turner had drawn this most recognisable of English landmarks several times in
a sketchbook of 1815. This view though bears little resemblance to the actual disposition of Stonehenge. Far
from producing a topographical representation, Turner has instead invented a catastrophic scene. The shepherd and his flock of sheep have been struck down by lightning. It is suggested that Turner introduced this scene of destruction to echo the ruins
of a dead religion, represented by the ancient stones.

A preparatory study inscribed 'Stonehenge' by Turner can be seen in a near by display case.


June 2002