LIFELINES: Lifeboat and Manby Apparatus by J.M.W. Turner


The early 19th century Romantic painter
JMW Turner is usually associated with his dramatic and often violent maritime
paintings. In another video we discussed his work, The Fighting Temeraire which
chronicled the demise of a once noble and valiant British warship. With this
work Lifeboat and Mandy Apparatus Going Off To A Stranded Vessel Making Signal
Blue Lights Of Distress, the unwieldy title says it all. With the advent of the
Industrial Revolution came greater production of goods. International
trading also increased, which also meant an increase in shipwrecks. The Manby
apparatus in the title refers to the invention designed by George Manby for
rescuing crew and passengers from floundering ships. It consisted of a
mortar that would fire a projectile with rope attached. The rope was then secured
to the ship creating a lifeline to convey those
aboard the distress ship to safety. The vessel is barely visible
although the distress flares firing from the ship, the direction of the rescue
boat and the trajectory of the projectile from the man being mortar all
helped to triangulate the ship’s location. Turner excels at this type of
painting where the volatile and destructive elements of nature converge
with human drama. Turner further enhances the spectacle by
rendering the participants the rescuers the woman and her children and others as
miniscule in comparison to the raging ocean and the force of the storm.
Turner handles his oils as if they were watercolors applied thinly and in washes
punctuated in places with opaque whites and more intense colors this painting as
well as his later works presage the atmospheric styles of Whistler
Monet and the Impressionists. I’m Larry Withers and this has been your 2-minute
masterpiece. We hope you’ve enjoyed this video if so liked it share it and
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