The Fighting Temeraire tugged in the wrong direction

On April 22, 2016 the Bank of England announced the next £20 banknote, to be issued in 2020. It will carry the portrait of artist William Turner and his probably most famous painting, The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up (1838).

Among some other artistic liberties Turner took, the perhaps most interesting one is the sun. Facing the sunset means we're looking westwards, with the approaching ships going down the Thames; but Temeraire was towed up the Thames to be broken up.

HMS Temeraire (Fr. "reckless") served, among other places, at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, in the Baltic in 1809 and at Cadiz 1810. When one of the last ships from Trafalgar, that had fought Spain, Denmark and France, was tugged to be broken up (by one of those modern steam ships no less) it symbolized the end of an era that is reflected by the setting sun. The painting couldn't have been painted in any other way.

3 kommentarer:

Anonym sa...

You mean the ship would not had looked any good from behind?

Hexmaster sa...

The steamer would have been quite invisible then.

Anonym sa...

At second thought, I suspected something like that.