IELTS Speaking Test Part 2: Describe A Piece of Art You Like

Jane Lawson,  English Teacher at DailyStep EnglishHello, I'm Jane at DailyStep English.  You can use this week's sample Speaking Test answer for IELTS or other English exams, or just to improve your English conversation.  Remember to speak along with the audio files to help your fluency and pronunciation. If you are new to DailyStep English, please register for a free trial of 5 UK/USA audio lessons.

IELTS Speaking Test PART 2 Sample Question and Answer

by Jane Lawson at

Question: Describe a piece of art you like. You should say:

  • what the work of art is
  • when you first saw it
  • what you know about it
  • and explain why you like it.

IELTS Speaking Part 2 sample answer - Describe a piece of art you like.Answer: One of my favourite pieces of art is called The Fighting Temeraire, by an artist called Turner.  It is a watercolour painting of a large old-fashioned battleship, the Temeraire,  being towed back to harbour at sunset with all of its sails down so it can be towed by the tugboat.

To be honest, I can't really remember when I first saw this painting because it is one of the most famous paintings in Britain so  I probably saw a picture of it in a book. I have only ever seen the original painting once, in the National Gallery in London, where I  was a bit surprised to find that it was quite a lot smaller than I expected it to be.

I wish I knew more about this painting really. I think it was painted in the 1830s or thereabouts. As far as I know,  this picture shows the ship being taken on its last journey, after it had been wrecked during a battle. 

One of the things I love about this painting  is the way that Turner, the artist, uses impressions and light. There are hardly any lines in the painting, so everything is a kind of haze, even the shoreline between the water and the sandy river bank. I have heard that Turner’s style  had a big influence on French Impressionist painters, such as Monet.

Another thing I find fascinating about this painting is the sunset. Turner and other artists at the time often painted very dramatic sunsets and it is now believed  that  the skies they could see really were this dramatic,  because a huge volcano had erupted in Indonesia shortly before that time and the ash cloud from the volcano that spread around the world would have made the sunsets and skies much more colourful, and the atmosphere seem hazier. So it’s like seeing a period of past natural history through the eyes of the artist. 

This sample answer took around 2 minutes, which is the maximum time you need to speak without stopping in Part 2 of the IELTS speaking exam.  Now, try this yourself, and if possible record your answer so you can listen back to it.

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