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Joseph Turner's famous painting of the fire that destroyed the old Houses of Parliament in 1834 is remarkable for its judicious use of color to evoke a scene of intimate drama.

For the three hours preceding its first public exhibit (at the British Institution), Turner furiously worked on the canvas. Then, his work complete, he abruptly collected his implements and walked away, without so much as a fleeting glance at the finished painting.

["That's masterly," his colleague Daniel Maclise remarked. "He does not stop to look at his work... he knows it is done and he is off."]

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