The Field of Waterloo by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851). Exhibited 1818. Oil on canvas, 1473 x 2388 mm. Courtesy of Tate Britain (Accession no. NO0500. Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856.) Click on image to enlarge it.

Commentary from Tate Britain Online (2016)

The Battle of Waterloo (1815) saw Britain and Prussia defeat France, putting an end to the Napoleonic wars and more than a decade of conflict. Turner visited the battlefield, already a tourist attraction, in 1817. He filled a sketchbook with drawings and notes, and later made studies of soldiers’ uniforms in preparation for this painting. In it, Turner emphasises war’s tragic consequences for all its victims. With the painting he quoted Byron’s poem ‘Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage’, lamenting ‘friend, foe, in one red burial blent!’. Many other works by Turner are on display here in the Clore Gallery.

Last modified 14 May 2016