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Snow Storm: Hannibal And His Army Crossing The Alps

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In September 1810, a 'grand, wonderful, sublime' thunderstorm passes over Chevin Hill, where Joseph Mallord William Turner is staying with his friend Walter Fawkes. "There Hawkey," he supposedly said, in two years you will see this again, and call it Hannibal Crossing the Alps. Though some art historians have suggested that the anecdote is a little too neat, the painting, one of Turner's most celebrated works, is duly exhibited in 1812 and now hangs in the Tate Gallery in London.


(courtesy www.tate.org.uk)

The famous painting Snow Storm: Hannibal and His Army Crossing the Alps by J. M. W. Turner which hangs in the Tate Gallery, is reputed to have been inspired by a view of the Chevin Hill (with a stormy background sky). Turner used to stay with his friend Walter Fawkes at Farnley Hall on the opposite side of the valley to the Chevin. Recalling a day in the autumn of 1810 Fawkes' son, Hawkesworth, remembered a storm that inspired one of Turner's major paintings:

"Hawkey! Hawkey! Come here! Come here! Look at this thunder-storm. Isn't it grand? isn't it wonderful? - isn't it sublime?" All this time he was making notes of its form and colour on the back of a letter. I proposed some better drawing-block, but he said it did very well. He was absorbed - he was entranced. There was the storm rolling and sweeping and shafting out its lightning over the Yorkshire hills. Presently the storm passed and he finished.


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