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The Fighting Temeraire, by JMW Turner Channel 5 TV programme


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In June I watched Channel 5's (UK TV channel) programme on JMW Turner's masterpiece painting, The Fighting Temeraire.  It's available on My5 catch-up till 2024.... https://www.my5.tv/great-paintings-of-the-world-with-andrew-marr/season-1/episode-3-fb5b7964-3461-4c0d-92f6-37738312b665

 

Turner has always been one of my favourite artists but I didn't appreciate the poignancy of the scene depicted in this particular painting. For a noobie model shipbuilder like me it brought home the significance of each and every ship build and their finite lives.

 

Wiki summarises the gist of the programme ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fighting_Temeraire

The Fighting Temeraire, tugged to her last berth to be broken up, 1838 is an oil painting by the English artist Joseph Mallord William Turner, painted in 1838 and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1839.[1]

The painting depicts the 98-gun HMS Temeraire, one of the last second-rate ships of the line to have played a role in the Battle of Trafalgar, being towed up the Thames by a paddle-wheel steam tug in 1838, towards its final berth in Rotherhithe to be broken up for scrap.

The painting hangs in the National Gallery, London, having been bequeathed to the nation by the artist in 1851. In a poll organised by BBC Radio 4's Today programme in 2005, it was voted the nation's favourite painting.[2] In 2020 it was included on the new 20-pound note.
 

It really is a great TV episode.

 

Regards,

 

Richard.

 

PS: Has anyone ever build a model of the scene depicted in the painting?

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I have a reproduction of this painting waiting for a frame so I can put it up on the wall of my "shipyard".

 

I agree, a very poignant scene. She was called the Fighting Temeraire (which means "Courageous", or perhaps even "Reckless") because of her exploits at Trafalgar - from Wikipedia "At the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October, the ship went into action immediately astern of Nelson's flagship, HMS Victory. During the battle Temeraire came to the rescue of the beleaguered Victory, and fought and captured two French ships, winning public renown in Britain."

 

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Temeraire_(1798)

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I love the painting and my family has heard me wax on about it before. As a result, when a few of them were in London early this year right before the travel lock-downs, they surprised me with a print from the museum the original is in. Got it framed, but have yet to hang it up. I also enjoyed Sam Willis' book on the ship and painting as well.

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Louie, Talos,

 

You've got me thinking now.

 

I've had 3x Turner prints (IIRC, bought from Edinburgh galleries) hanging in my living room for donkey's years. But now I realise I need another one in my new 'shipyard' (former study).

 

The National Gallery has a good description of the painting's story .... https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/joseph-mallord-william-turner-the-fighting-temeraire

...and also sells prints.  I believe the original painting was 48" x 36".

 

OK, now to decide on the size of Temeraire print, a suitable frame and where in the shipyard I can hang it.

 

I find it a very relaxing painting, if a bit sad.

 

regards,

 

Richard
 

 

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Rik,

 

I have one of the National Gallery prints and it looks great.

 

Yeah, the painting is beautiful and relaxing to look at. The colors are gorgeous, as is the sense of motion that draws you into it. It is sad too, in a nostalgic way that really encapsulates the Japanese ideal of "mono no aware", which you can define as "the pathos of things" or "an awareness of impermanence."

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Over here “across the pond”  Mystic Seaport Museum hosted a large exhibition of Turner’s work in it’s new art gallery.  It was the only American institution selected for this exhibition.  My wife and I stopped to see it on our way to the NRG Conference.   Temerarie not included but lots of other works demonstrating Turner’s amazing abilities.

 

Roger

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I was lucky enough to see an exhibition of Turner watercolours many years ago. One of the paintings was "First Rate Taking in Stores" https://www.william-turner.org/A-First-Rate-Taking-In-Stores.html which I've always loved, particularly for its sense of the enormous size of the ship. There's a contemporary description by a witness who watched him painting it - apparently it took him about an hour; he worked at a furious rate. 

 

I was amazed how small the painting itself was - 39.7 x 28.6 cm (15.6" x 11.25")!

 

 

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Talos,  Good to hear the National Gallery has faithful colours in their prints.....I guess I shouldn't expect anything else from them. I'm still pondering what size to order 😉

 

Roger, I'm glad you got the chance to view some of Turner's works. They can be quite mystical and some, at first glance, seem to be a mushy wash of pastel colours, but on closer inspection the story and the skill emerge.

 

Steven, I don't recall ever having seen 'First rate taking in stores'... what a painting! Hmm...should I be ordering a print of that also?  And 'yes', the The Fighting Temeraire would make a wonderful diorama, especially if it mimicked Turner's lighting.

 

Have a good weekend,

 

Richard

 

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Rik Thistle said:

Talos,  Good to hear the National Gallery has faithful colours in their prints.....I guess I shouldn't expect anything else from them. I'm still pondering what size to order 😉

 

Roger, I'm glad you got the chance to view some of Turner's works. They can be quite mystical and some, at first glance, seem to be a mushy wash of pastel colours, but on closer inspection the story and the skill emerge.

 

Steven, I don't recall ever having seen 'First rate taking in stores'... what a painting! Hmm...should I be ordering a print of that also?  And 'yes', the The Fighting Temeraire would make a wonderful diorama, especially if it mimicked Turner's lighting.

 

Have a good weekend,

 

Richard

 

 

 

 

 

Mine isn't massive, fitting in an 11 x 14 frame with some matting. I had eyed prints online for years but never got one because of dodgy colors. I was pleased with the color on this one straight from the National Gallery though.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My National Gallery framed, 'medium' sized print (420mm x 325mm) arrived this morning. I went for the matt, no mount options. Total cost £70. Took 16 working days to arrive, which is perfectly fine considering it would have to go to the framers and the CV situation. The packaging was possibly the best I had ever seen.

 

The print looks very good. One of the most colourful Turner prints I have. Very pleased. Now I need to make some space for it on my shack/shipyard/hobby room walls.

 

Richard

 

National Gallery link ... https://www.nationalgallery.co.uk/products/the-fighting-temeraire-print/p_NG524

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