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This watercolour, representing a semi-fictional encounter during Napoleon''s invasion of Italy in 1796, was exhibited by Turner at the Royal Academy in 1815 to mark the end of the Napoleonic War. Years later, however, when his Queen Anne Street house was in decline, it was observed by visitors blocking up a broken window. This neglect was not unique, for a picture, Fishing upon the Blythe-Sand, also on display in this gallery, was seen in use as a cat flap.

August 2004