In this portrayal he responds to the political issues of his day with the kind of emotions we might expect from a man with a big heart. Here is a man who does what he does, says what he says – and most importantly, as an artist – feels what he feels. Here is an artist that an artist can relate to personally. Here is a human being that a human being can relate to. All I can say is: Well done you people!
Steve Slimm, Artist JMW Turner Fanclub
Slave Ship depicts a scene where the desire for profit leads to dead and dying slaves being thrown overboard so that insurance can be collected.
When Turner exhibited this picture at the Royal Academy in 1840 he paired it with the following extract from his unfinished and unpublished poem “Fallacies of Hope” (1812):
“Aloft all hands, strike the top-masts and belay;
Yon angry setting sun and fierce-edged clouds
Declare the Typhon’s coming.
Before it sweeps your decks, throw overboard
The dead and dying – ne’er heed their chains
Hope, Hope, fallacious Hope!
Where is thy market now?“
I think, the noblest sea that Turner has ever painted, and, if so, the noblest certainly ever painted by man, is that of the Slave Ship, the chief Academy picture of the Exhibition of 1840. John Ruskin
The Slave Ship was not in BG Windus’s collection but it was bought by John James Ruskin for his son, John Ruskin, from Thomas Griffiths, JMW Turner’s dealer.
The Eccentric Mr Turner
This moving 26 minute black and white film,