Joseph Mallord William Turner
The Field of Waterloo exhibited 1818

Artwork details

The Field of Waterloo
Date Exhibited 1818
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 1473 x 2388 mm
frame: 1860 x 2773 x 180 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1810

Display caption

The Battle of Waterloo (1815) saw Britain and Prussia defeat France, putting an end to the Napoleonic wars and more than a decade of conflict. Turner visited the battlefield, already a tourist attraction, in 1817. He filled a sketchbook with drawings and notes, and later made studies of soldiers’ uniforms in preparation for this painting. In it, Turner emphasises war’s tragic consequences for all its victims. With the painting he quoted Byron’s poem ‘Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage’, lamenting ‘friend, foe, in one red burial blent!’. Many other works by Turner are on display here in the Clore Gallery.

February 2016

About this artwork