Main Article Content
The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, 16 October 1834, 1835
Joseph Mallord William Turner (British, 1775-1851)
oil on canvas, Framed: 123.5 x 153.5 x 12 cm (48 9/16 x 60 3/8 x 4 11/16 in.); Unframed: 92 x 123.2 cm (36 3/16 x 48 1/2 in.). Bequest of John L. Severance 1942.647
Image Credit: Cleveland Museum of Art
On the night of October 16, 1834, fire consumed the Houses of Parliament in London. Londoners gathered along the banks of the river Thames to gaze in awe at the horrifying spectacle. Initially, a low tide made it difficult to pump water to fire-fighting equipment on land; likewise, it hampered steamers towing fire-fighting equipment up the river. Although the tides eventually shifted, the effort was futile, as the fire burned uncontrollably for hours. Turner records this as the steamers in the lower-right corner head toward the flames.Although Turner based the painting on an actual event, he used the disaster as the starting point to express man’s helplessness when confronted with the destructive powers of nature, here dissolved in brilliant swaths of color and variable atmospheric effects that border on abstraction.
Pathogens and Immunity abides by Creative Commons BY 4.0:
This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work for any lawful purpose, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials. The authors maintain copyright of their materal.