“The Burning of the Houses of Parliament” by J. M. W. Turner depicts the fire that broke out at the Houses of Parliament in 1834. Turner himself witnessed the Burning of Parliament from the south bank of the River Thames, opposite Westminster. The painting shows the Houses of Parliament overwhelmed in golden flames which are consuming the chamber of the House of Commons. This depiction is the view from downstream, close to Waterloo Bridge and shows the fire and smoke blowing dramatically over the Thames as the London spectators look on from the river bank and from boats .
Turner made multiple sketches using both pencil and watercolour in two sketchbooks from different vantage points, including from a boat. Turner also painted an earlier painting in the same year, on the same subject, with a perspective from further upstream, next to Westminster Bridge.
The colours and composition of these paintings may have influenced Turner’s conception of his later painting of “The Fighting Temeraire“, which also depicts the passing of an old order.
Many of Turner’s paintings can be found in museums across the world, depict famous landscapes and seascapes, including:
- “The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons”, 1835, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
- “The Burning of the Houses of Parliament” 1835 at the Cleveland Museum of Art
- “The Fighting Temeraire“, 1839, at the National Gallery, London
- “Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino”, 1839 at the Getty Museum
- Title: The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons
- Artist: J.M.W. Turner
- Year: 1835
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dimensions 92 × 123 cm (36.2 × 48.4 in)
- Museum: Cleveland Museum of Art
Artist Essential Facts:
- Name: Joseph Mallord William Turner
- Born: 1775 – Covent Garden, London, England
- Died: 1851 (aged 76) – Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, England
- Nationality: English
- Movement: Romanticism
- Famous Works:
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Photo Credit: 1) J. M. W. Turner [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons 2) J. M. W. Turner [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons