Turner was a British artist who painted the picture of a slave ship. The title of this particular painting is Slave ship slavers Throwing overboard the dead and dying, Typhoon coming on. This painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1840, Turner paired it with a poem which was unfinished and unpublished which was called “Fallicies of hope” 1812.
This is an extract of this poem;
“Aloft all hands, strike the top-masts and belay;
Yon angry setting sun and fierce-edged clouds
Declare the typhoon’s coming
Before it sweeps your decks, throw overboard
The dead and dying ne’er, heed their chains
Hope, Hope, fallacious hope!
Where is thy market now?”
Part of the painting is shown above which shows a slave’s leg with the slave shackel, which is now surrounded by fish. The painting was based on a poem that described a slave caught in a typhoon, and on a true story of a slave ship called Zong whose captain had encountered typhoon on board the Zong so he decided to throw overboard the sick and dying slaves. As he could not sell such cargo in 1781. This so he could collect insurance money available only for slaves ‘lost at sea’.
The critic John Ruskin a fine art professor at Oxford university who was Cecil Rhodes mentor. Was the first owner of the slave ship Ruskin wrote;
“If I were reduced to rest Turner’s immortality upon any single work, I should choose this”.
This picture further demonstrates how the use of slaves, which let us not forget were human beings. Were used as a commodity which made huge profits so that England, Europe and America could leave a prosperous life for their ancestors. Slave Islands however did not leave a prosperous life for the ancestors of slaves.