after Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Fighting Téméraire, engraved by Willmore

published 1859–61

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Artist
After Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Engraving on paper
Dimensions
None
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Transferred from the British Museum 1988
Reference
T06354

Display caption

The Téméraire was a battleship, first launched in 1798. It became one of the many older ships put out of service in the 1830s and 1840s. In this engraving after Turner’s painting, it is shown being tugged by a much smaller steamboat to a ship-breaking yard. It thus stands as an emblem of a magnificent, but obsolete, technology.

Contemporaries recognised the symbolic inferences of the blazing sunset, and of the contrast between the steamboat and the old warship. Many saw the picture as a commentary on the passing-away of the age of heroic patriotism.

Gallery label, September 2004

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