Pietro Cinzano's question in United Kingdom


Look at Turner's The Fighting Temeraire. It earned the epithet “Fighting” because it saved the flagship Victory from destruction during the battle of Trafalgar. The story goes that the Victory has just loosed all its cannon as the French flagship, Villeneuves, came into line ready to fire a full broadside which could have finished the Victory off. As luck would have it, the Temeraire was traversing the stern of the French ship with all starboard cannon loaded. It loosed all guns down the length of the French ship, putting it out of action and saving the Victory. The French commented later that they couldn’t believe how many French sailors had been decapitated in the onslaught. Temeraire went on to capture two enemy ships which it strapped to its sides - quite a feat in itself. Some years later though, it was the Temeraire 's turn to be decapitated. In Turner's painting, we see The Temeraire, all ghostly and white, with its three masts and its sails furled, being dragged to the knackers yard, could be Nelson himself or even the British empire. And the tug could be the future, flames and steam v. wind and sail, or even Turner himself, as he was a short n squat man, with his trademark top hat. It is a very peculiar painting to choose as representative of his work, you might think. He was marine, but also industrial, as we saw, and the Tate expo had hundreds of his works. Including stuff on slavery - factually presented without Woke trimmings - and the Reform Act changing the electoral system. Why "The Fighting Temeraire"? And what a name! After Trafalgar, she was used to run supplies, like many of the other ships that fought in that battle. A battle that destroyed the French fleet, who were wanting to cut off British trade across the Atlantic with Amercia. But the Navy eventually sold The Temeraire, the fearless one, for scrap - 5,000 oaks from 60 acres plus iron nails - so the Navy cut off the three masts, they were not there as she was towed to Rotherhyde, only in the painting, And they emptied the ship of anything of value. Turner is not seeking to be accurate, he is an artist not a historian, just to manipulate our feelings and pass on a message or commentary on the future ahead. He was a really quite remarkable man and from totally humble origins. He sold his first painting at the age of 11 and was on the board of the Royal Academy, youngest member ever at 27. And btw the sun doesn't rise in the west, only in his painting.