Shop art print and framed art The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last Berth to be broken up by Joseph Mallord William Turner

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Subjects : Landscape, Seascape
Keywords : Painting, boat, evening, steamer, sunset, towing
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To fully enjoy «The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last Berth to be broken up» by Joseph Mallord William Turner, we recommend the medium size (60x80.6 cm) printed on hand stretched canvas, with the gilded mouldings - thin frame.
The artwork

The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last Berth to be broken up

The Last Voyage of the Bold: an iconic work by Joseph Mallord William Turner

The famous painting The Last Voyage of the Bold by the British painter Joseph Mallord William Turner in 1839 marked the history of painting and is considered a masterpiece of English Romanticism.

Historical context and inspiration

The Temeraire was a ship of the line of the Royal Navy, built in 1798 and which took part in several important naval battles, including Trafalgar in 1805. She was decommissioned and scrapped in 1838, before being towed to Rotherhithe, near London, for dismantling.

It was this scene that Turner chose to depict in his painting, after reading a newspaper report of the event. The painter had already produced several works on themes related to the navy and naval battles, but here he is more interested in the fate of a ship symbolising past heroism and glory.

Composition and painting technique

The painting measures 90.7 x 121.6 cm and is an oil on canvas. Turner uses a palette of warm, luminous colours, with marked contrasts between light and dark tones, which give a dramatic atmosphere to the scene. The paint strokes are light and fluid, creating an impression of movement and energy.

A scene in two parts

The composition of the work is divided into two main parts: on the left, we see the Téméraire, towed by a black, smoking steamboat, symbolising modernity and industrialisation. On the right, the sun sets on the horizon, illuminating the sky and sea with orange and golden colours, evoking the end of an era and nostalgia for a glorious past.

Significant secondary elements

Surrounding these two central elements, Turner incorporated a number of details that reinforce the painting's message: in the foreground, we can see boats with figures watching the scene, witnesses to the passage of time and the change of era. In the background, warships are anchored in the Thames, a reminder of the past grandeur of the British navy.

Interpretations and posterity of the work

The Last Voyage of the Bold was a great success from the moment it was shown at the Royal Academy exhibition in 1839, and is now considered one of Turner's major paintings. Several interpretations have been proposed to explain the meaning of this work.

An allegory of the passage of time

The painting can be seen as a meditation on the passage of time, with the confrontation between the ageing ship and the modern steamship, as well as the evocation of the setting sun. The Téméraire would then symbolise the values and traditions that are disappearing in the face of new technologies and industrial progress.

A tribute to past heroism and glory

Other interpretations highlight the nostalgic and elegiac character of the painting, which would pay tribute to the courage and heroism of the sailors who fought on the Téméraire during the naval battles. The towing scene would thus evoke the end of an era when ships of the line were the instruments of British power.


This artwork is a painting from the classical period. It belongs to the romanticism style.


« The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last Berth to be broken up » is kept at National Gallery, London, United Kingdom.


Find the full description of The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last Berth to be broken up by Joseph Mallord William Turner on Wikipedia.

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Joseph Mallord William Turner

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Joseph Mallord William Turner

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