Joseph Mallord William Turner Study for ‘The Battle of Trafalgar, as Seen from the Mizen Starboard Shrouds of the Victory’ 1805

Artwork details

Artist
Title
Study for ‘The Battle of Trafalgar, as Seen from the Mizen Starboard Shrouds of the Victory’
From Nelson Sketchbook
Turner Bequest LXXXIX
Date 1805
Medium Graphite on paper
Dimensions Support: 114 x 184 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D05481
Turner Bequest LXXXIX 26
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Catalogue entry

For Turner’s picture, The Battle of Trafalgar, as Seen from the Mizen Starboard Shrouds of the Victory (Tate N00480), exhibited at Turner’s Gallery in 1806, see the Introduction to this sketchbook. While noting that there are many studies of the Victory in this sketchbook, Butlin and Joll do not mention this drawing in their entry for the picture,1 although it is by far the closest to the composition as Turner painted it. Extending to the left on to folio 14 verso (D41427), it advances the slighter sketch drawn as a double page spread on folios 27 verso–28 (D05471–D05472; Turner Bequest LXXXIX 20a–21) and (now separated) on its own verso and 11 (D05482, D05460; Turner Bequest 26a, 13). Seen from an elevated position above the starboard side of the poop, the quarterdeck of the Victory occupies the centre, with the wounded Nelson and surrounding figures already roughly indicated. The Spanish flagship Santissima Trinidad (for which see chiefly folio 21 verso, D05458; Turner Bequest LXXXIX 12) is in the left middle distance, and at right are the French Redoutable, from whose mizzen top the shot that killed Nelson was fired (see also chiefly folio 10, D05457; Turner Bequest LXXXIX 11) and the British Temeraire.

David Blayney Brown
March 2006

1
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.46 no.58 (pl.68).

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