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The English victory over Napoleon at Waterloo in Belgium in 1815 reopened the European continent to English travelers after nearly twenty years of constant warfare. The battlefield became a tourist destination and Turner visited on his way to the Rhine in 1817.
The battlefield was quite pastoral when Turner prepared his illustration for Scott’s Life of Napoleon in 1833. A flash of lightning over the farmhouse that had been at the center of the battle, and the skeleton of a horse in the left corner offer reminders of the epochal conflict.
Ex Turner Sale 1873