Format Hardcover
Publication Date 11/15/10
ISBN 9781605981246
Trim Size / Pages 9.3 x 6.3 in / 352

Request a review copy or press kit

The Fighting Temeraire

The Battle of Trafalgar and the Ship that Inspired J. M. W. Turner's Most Beloved Painting

Sam Willis

The extraordinary story of the mighty Temeraire, the ship behind J. M. W. Turner's iconic painting.

The H.M.S. Temeraire, one of Britain`s most illustrious fighting ships, is known to millions through J.M.W. Turner`s masterpiece, The Fighting Temeraire (1839), which portrays the battle-scarred veteran of Britain`s wars with Napoleonic France. In this evocative new volume, Sam Willis tells the extraordinary story of the vessel behind the painting and the making of the painting itself.

Turner's Temeraire was the second ship in the Royal Navy to carry the name. The first, a French warship captured and commandeered by the British in 1759, served with distinction during the Seven Years' War before being sold off in 1784. The second Temeraire, named in honor of her predecessor, was a prestigious three-decked, 98-gun warship that broke through the French and Spanish line directly astern of Nelson`s flagship Victory at Trafalgar in 1805, saving the Vice-Admiral at a crucial moment in the battle. This tale of two ships spans the heyday of the age of sail: the climaxes of both the Seven Years War (1756-63) and the Napoleonic Wars (1798-1815).

Filled with richly evocative detail, and narrated with the pace and gusto of a master storyteller, The Fighting Temeraire is an enthralling and deeply satisfying work of narrative history.

Sam Willis has lectured at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, and consults on maritime painting for Christie's. Sam spent eighteen months as a Square Rig Able Sea-man, sailing the tall ships used in the Hornblower television series and award-winning film Shackleton. He is the author of Fighting at Sea in the Eighteenth Century: The Art of Sailing Warfare and the highly successful Fighting Ships series.

Buy it now in print: Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound

Buy it now in ebook: Amazon Barnes & Noble Apple Kobo Google

Endorsements & Reviews

“Sam Willis's The Fighting Temeraire is an elegant lament for the vanished warships of the world and an eloquent plea for the preservation of those still afloat… discursive and fascinating… Anyone who has the smallest interest in naval history will treasure this book.” Wall Street Journal
“Absorbing and enjoyable. Willis is a reliable and readable guide to the naval history embodied in the Temeraire. His book cleverly uses the microcosm of the life story of one ship to reflect the wider narrative of the decades-long struggle between Britain and France for mastery of the seas.” Sunday Times [London]