The Temeraire, a 98-gun ship of the line, had fought gallantly beside Nelson's Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. After Trafalgar there were no more major naval battles - the Napoleonic wars ended in 1815 - and like many other warships, the Temeraire was relegated to harbour duties. By 1838, 40 years old, she was decaying; she was stripped of reusable materials and sold for the value of her timbers to a Rotherhithe ship-breaker.J. M. W. Turner's 'The Fighting Temeraire, tugged to her last berth to be broken up, 1838', one of the best-loved pictures in the National Gallery, depicts the passing of the Temeraire to her doom. From her inglorious final journey - a huge but powerless vessel without masts, rigging, sails or flags, towed by two steam tugs - Turner made a magnificent and deeply symbolic painting.