Van Tromp, going about to please his Masters, Ships a Sea, getting a Good Wetting

Object Details

Title:

Van Tromp, going about to please his Masters, Ships a Sea, getting a Good Wetting

Artist/Maker:

Joseph Mallord William Turner (British, 1775 - 1851)

Culture:

English

Date:

1844

Medium:

Oil on canvas

Dimensions:

92.4 × 123.2 cm (36 3/8 × 48 1/2 in.)

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In this narrative history painting, Joseph Mallord William Turner expressed the power of nature and the heroism of man through the eyes of a Romantic painter. Turner used quick, slanting brushstrokes to describe the stormy sky. The application of scumbled white paint suggests churning, turbulent seas and the heavy spray of waves hitting the ship's bow. Tones of brown paint near the bottom of the canvas give a sense of the sea's violent power.

On the foredeck of a ship that strains against the waves, a man stands in a white uniform and waves with confidence. While scholars are uncertain of the exact historical event Turner described, one probable interpretation is that the man depicted here is Dutch naval officer Cornelis Van Tromp, who was dismissed from naval service in 1666 after failing to follow orders. Van Tromp was reinstated in service and reconciled with his navy superiors in 1673. In perhaps a symbolic overture signaling his submission to authority, Tromp is shown, in Turner's words, "going about to please his Masters."

Provenance
- 1845

possibly George Pennell, sold to Charles Birch, 1845.

1845 -

possibly Charles Birch

by 1850 - 1867

John Miller (Liverpool, Merseyside, England) [unsold, Miller sale, Christie's, London, May 20-22, 1858, lot 248 ("Van Tromp")], sold to Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd., 1867

1867

Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd. (London, England), sold to Henry Woods, 1867.

1867 - 1883

Henry Woods (Warnford Park, England) [sold, Woods sale, Christie's, London, May 5, 1883, lot 147 ("Van Tromp's Shallop at the Entrance to the Scheldt"), to "Martin," an alias for Thomas Holloway]

1883

Thomas Holloway, 1800 - 1883 (London, England), by bequest to Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, University of London, 1883.

1883 - 1993

Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, University of London, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1993.

Exhibitions
The Exhibition of the Royal Academy: MDCCCXLIV. The Seventy-Sixth (1844) (Cat. 253)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), 1844
The Exhibition of the Liverpool Academy: The 26th (1850) (Cat. 37)
  • Liverpool Academy (Liverpool), 1850
Twenty-Sixth Exhibition of the Royal Scottish Academy of Painting, Sculpture & Architecture (1852) (Cat. 21)
  • Academy Galleries (Edinburgh), 1852
Art Treasures of the United Kingdom Collected at Manchester in 1857 (May 5 to October 17, 1857) (Cat. 282; in Section 2, "Paintings by Modern Masters")
  • Art Treasures Palace (Manchester)
Exhibition of British Art c. 1000 - 1860 (January 6 to March 10, 1934) (Cat. 158)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), January 6 to March 10, 1934
The First Hundred Years of the Royal Academy, 1769-1868: Winter Exhibition, 1951-52 (1951 to 1952) (Cat. 158)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), 1951 to 1952
Englische Malerei der Grossen Zeit: Von Hogarth bis Turner / La Pittura Inglese da Hogarth a Turner (1730-1850) / Malarstwo Angielskie od Hogartha do Turnera (October 8, 1966 to March 19, 1967) (Cat. 61 / 62)
  • Wallraf-Richartz-Museum - Fondation Corboud (Cologne), October 8 to November 6, 1966
  • Museo del Palazzo di Venezia (Rome), November 21 to December 20, 1966
  • Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie (Warsaw), February 18 to March 19, 1967
150th Anniversary Loan Exhibition of Paintings and Watercolours by J. M. W. Turner, R.A. (November 1 to December 2, 1967) (Cat. 33)
  • Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd. (London), November 1 to December 2, 1967
Schok der Herkenning / "Shock of Recognition" (November 24, 1970 to January 10, 1971) (Cat. 49 / 47)
  • Mauritshuis (The Hague), November 24, 1970 to January 10, 1971
  • Tate Gallery (London), January 23 to February 28, 1971
J. M. W. Turner: Der Maler des Lichts (September 15 to November 6, 1972) (Cat. 34)
  • Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin), September 15 to November 6, 1972
Turner: A Special Loan Exhibition of 20 Rarely Seen Paintings (October 27 to December 4, 1977)
  • Tate Gallery (London), October 27 to December 4, 1977
Thomas Holloway: The Benevolent Millionaire (November 3 to December 11, 1981) (Cat. 42)
  • Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd. (London), November 3 to December 11, 1981
J. M. W. Turner (October 14, 1983 to January 16, 1984) (Cat. 75)
  • Galeries nationales du Grand Palais (Paris), October 14, 1983 to January 16, 1984
Turner (March 16 to September 10, 1996) (Cat. 26)
  • National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), March 16 to June 10, 1996
  • National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne), June 27 to September 10, 1996
Turner: The Late Seascapes (June 14, 2003 to May 25, 2004)
  • The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (Williamstown), June 14 to September 7, 2003
  • Manchester Art Gallery (Manchester), October 31, 2003 to January 25, 2004
  • Burrell Collection (Glasgow), February 19 to May 25, 2004
J.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free (September 10, 2014 to January 31, 2016) (98)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 24 to May 24, 2015
Bibliography

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Catalogue of the Art Treasures of the United Kingdom, Collected at Manchester in 1857, exh. cat. (n.p.: n.p., 1857) p. 90, no. 282.

Christie and Manson, London. Catalogue of the Valuable and Extensive Collection of English Pictures and Drawings, Formed with Great Judgment and Taste, by that Well-known Amateur, John Miller, Esq., of Liverpool. May 20-22, 1858 p. 30, no. 248.

Thornbury, Walter. The Life of J. M. W. Turner, R.A. Rev. ed. (London: Chatto & Windus, 1897) pp. 92, 580, 606.

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Wedmore, Frederick, ed. Turner & Ruskin: An Exposition of the Works of Turner from the Writings of Ruskin. 2 vols. (London: George Allen, 1900) vol. 1, ill. facing p. 132.

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Exhibition of British Art, c. 1000-1860, exh. cat. (London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1934) p. 72, no. 158.

The First Hundred Years of the Royal Academy, 1769-1868: Winter Exhibition, 1951-52, exh. cat. (London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1951) pp. 73-74, no. 158.

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Englische Malerei der Grossen Zeit: Von Hogarth bis Turner, exh. cat. (Cologne: Wallraf-Richartz Museum, 1966) unpaginated, no. 61, ill.

La Pittura Inglese da Hogarth a Turner (1730-1850), exh. cat. (Rome: Palazzo Venezia, 1966) unpaginated, no. 62, ill.

Agnew's 150th Anniversary Loan Exhibition of Paintings and Watercolours by J. M. W. Turner, R.A., exh. cat. (London: Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1967) pp. 47-48, no. 33.

Malarstwo Angielskie od Hogartha do Turnera, exh. cat. (Warsaw: Muzeum Narodowe, 1967) p. 42, no. 61, ill.

Schok der Herkenning. Het Engelse landschap der Romantiek en zijn Hollandse Inspiratie. Jubileum Tentoonstelling 50 jaar Genootschap Nederland-Engeland, exh. cat. (The Hague: Mauritshuis, 1970) unpaginated, no. 49, ill.

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Education Resources

Education Resource

Subjects

Grades

Format

Painting Romanticism

Lesson in which students discuss the historical narrative Van Tromp, Going About to Please His Masters by Turner and explore Romanticism's influence.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts

9-12

Three/Five-Part Lesson