“The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons” by J. M. W. Turner
“The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons” 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. The fire is consuming the chamber of the House of Commons and is illuminating the towers of Westminster Abbey. The fire reflects in the water and on a crowd of spectators in the foreground. To the right of the painting, Westminster Bridge looms bright white from the light of the fire. The perspective of the bridge closest to the fire is distorted emphasising the fire’s’ destruction.
Turner made multiple sketches using both pencil and watercolour in two sketchbooks from different vantage points, including from a boat. Turner also painted a second painting on the same subject, from further downstream, closer to Waterloo Bridge, later in the same year 1835.
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.
Turner Paintings to Explore
- The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons
- The Fighting Temeraire
- Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino
- The Burning of the Houses of Parliament
The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons
- Title: The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons
- Artist: J.M.W. Turner
- Year: 1835
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dimensions H: 36.25 in (92.1 cm). W: 48.5 in (123.2 cm).
- Museum: Philadelphia Museum of Art
Joseph Mallord William Turner
- Name: Joseph Mallord William Turner
- Born: 1775 – Covent Garden, London, England
- Died: 1851 (aged 76) – Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, England
- Nationality: English
- Movement: Romanticism
- Notable 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