after Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Fighting Téméraire, engraved by Willmore

published 1859–61

Image released under

License this image

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
After Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Engraving on paper
Transferred from the British Museum 1988

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

Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.

You might like

In the shop