Lindsay writes that the closeness of Turner's "reaction to contemporary events may be gauged from his pictures of 1832, the year of radical agitation, insurrection (at Bristol), and successful parliamentary reform. He showed Childe Harold with its moral that decadence follows imperial corruption and the failure to uphold Liberty, Nebuchadnezzar at the mouth of the burning fiery furnace (in which the three faithful endure the worst that tyranny can do), Staffa with a small steam tug defying the stormclouds, and The Prince of Orange, William III, embarked from Holland.... In the context of the struggle for the Reform Bill, Turner's picture of William landing against elemental opposition to bring about 'the glorious Revolution' can only have one meaning" (61-62). In a lecture delivered at the Frick Museum (1966) Professor McCoubrey demonstrated Turner's allusions to contemporary affairs in The Slave Ship and Tapping the Furnace.
Last modified 2000