National Maritime Museum
JMW Turner’s The Battle of Trafalgar, 1805
Completed April 2015
Exhibition budget £60K
In 2014 we were commissioned to reinterpret a national treasure, JMW Turner’s Battle of Trafalgar, which was given its own dedicated gallery for permanent display. The scope of work included interpretation design and audio-visual design.
Our approach to the interpretation reflected the two voices or themes of the painting: firstly, the story of the battle and secondly, the other the symbolism with which Turner imbued the painting to show how the Battle of Trafalgar was intrinsic to the construction of a new sense Britishness.
These two themes are explored by two curators, who explain these two thematic thought processes. This is experienced as a curated audioscape and supported by a showcase of objects representing each theme. These objects provide the starting point for the graphic design. The painting is contextualised within the introductory space by the inclusion of other naval-themed paintings from when the painting hung in the National Gallery of Naval Art.