After every work of art in the country was evaluated a short list of finalists by British, Italian, Dutch, Belgian and French artists was announced. There were heavy hitters like Still Life: Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers by Vincent Van Gogh. Also on the list was one of the most original works in the Western World's art canon - The Arnolfini Portrait by Netherlands painter Jan van Eyck in 1434, perpetrated with oils on three panels of oak boards.
In the end the vote was not all that close. The winner was The Fighting Téméraire Tugged to Her Last Berth to Be Broken Up, 1838 painted by a contemporary and bitter rival of Constable, Joseph William Mallord Turner.
Turner was secretive and prolific in his paintings and did more than any other artist to elevate landscape painting to the lofty status of historical painting that was universally held to be the highest form of Western painting. Turner knew his rightful place among the Old Masters; 150 years after his death the people of England agreed with him.
This book tells his incredible story.