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The ship of Christopher Columbus is visited by an angel who warns him to return to Europe through the storms of the Atlantic. Engraving by E. Goodall after J.M.W. Turner.

  • Turner, J. M. W. (Joseph Mallord William), 1775-1851
  • Pictures

About this work


An episode in a miniature epic poem by Samuel Rogers, 'The voyage of Columbus', canto XII: while sailing across the Atlantic, Christopher Columbus and his crew are visited by an angel who warns them: "The wind recalls thee; its still voice obey. / Millions await thy coming; hence, away. / To thee blest tidings of great joy consigned, / Another Nature, and a new Mankind!... / Hence! tho' assembling in the fields of air, / Now, in a night of clouds, thy foes prepare / To rock the globe with elemental wars, / And dash the floods of ocean to the stars; / To bid the meek repine, the valiant weep, / And thee restore thy secret to the deep!"

"Turner's vignette shows the angel delivering his prophecy, whilst in the turbulent seas beneath Columbus's ships are tossed by a violent storm. Surrounding the spirit in the sky are a number of armed spirits, an allusion to the angel's prophecy that there will be war before there is peace in America"-- Gamer, loc. cit. However, the poem does not say that the conflict will be in America but between the elements in the sky above the Atlantic, causing Columbus to be in danger of shipwreck



Physical description

1 print : engraving ; platemark 29.2 x 15.2 cm

References note

Meredith Gamer, 'A tempest – Voyage of Columbus, for Rogers's 'Poems' c.1830–2 by Joseph Mallord William Turner', catalogue entry, August 2006, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: sketchbooks, drawings and watercolours, December 2012,, accessed 14 July 2015


Wellcome Library no. 524646i


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