The scene depicted from a very low viewpoint, The Swan packet-boat immobile until the turn of the ebb tide, so the villagers from shore offer fresh victuals to the passengers, as is the custom. The Morning Chronicle (May1818) quotes” The Dort was considered one of the most magnificent pictures ever exhibited, and does honors to the age”. The painting was brought by one of Turner’s patrons Walter Fawkes. Now at Yale Centre for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection.
He must be a painter of strength of nature, there was no beauty elsewhere than in that; he must paint also the labour and sorrow and passing away of man: this was the great human truth visible to him. . . . Labour; by sea and land, in the field and city, at forge and furnace, helm and plough. No pastoral indolence nor classic pride shall stand between him and the troubling of the world; still less between him and the toil of his county,- blind, tormented, unwearied, marvelous England.
Sir Joshua Reynolds, President of the Royal Academy when Turner was first a member, declared that painters should go to the Dutch School to learn the art of paintings as they would go to grammar school to learn languages.
Turners first trip abroad in 1802 was to study Dutch art at the Louvre in Paris where Napoleon had acquired much treasure from his wars. Turner was also to travel in the steps of Napoleon in 1817, from which he later exhibited the anti-war painting ‚The Fields of Waterloo’.
When Turner was shown a print by the Dutch artist Van de Velde, he said ‚that made me a painter’. During his travels to Holland in 1817, 1825, 1840/41/42, Turner made more than 600 drawings. Some for later development into the wonderful marine paintings we have today.