Joseph Mallord William Turner, Dido Building Carthage, or the Rise of the Carthaginian Empire, oil on canvas, 1815, 61 7/10 x 91 3/10 in. The National Gallery, London, Turner Bequest, 1856, NG498. View in Scrapbook
Cole drew inspiration for The Consummation of Empire from Turner's Dido Building Carthage. After seeing the work in a London studio in 1829, Cole wrote, "The building of Carthage is a splendid composition & full of poetry. Magnificent piles of Architecture, some finished and some incomplete, fill the sides of the picture while the middle of it is a bay or arm of the sea that comes to the foreground, glittering in the light of the sun which rises directly over it. The figures, vessels, sea are very appropriate. The composition very much resembles some of Claude's." 1 Note the similarities between the architecture of both paintings, with their romanticized classical temples and rivers running through the center of the compositions. Note also the two boys playing with ships in Turner's work, as in Cole's painting.