Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway

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Rain, Steam and Speed –
The Great Western Railway
Turner - Rain, Steam and Speed - National Gallery file.jpg
ArtistJ.M.W. Turner
Mediumoil on canvas
Dimensions91 cm × 121.8 cm (36 in × 48.0 in)
LocationNational Gallery, London

Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway is an oil painting by the 19th-century British painter J. M. W. Turner.[1]

The painting was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1844, though it may have been painted earlier.[i] It is now in the collection of the National Gallery, London.

The Great Western Railway (GWR) was one of a number of private British railway companies created to develop the new means of transport. The location of the painting is widely accepted as Maidenhead Railway Bridge, across the River Thames between Taplow and Maidenhead. The view is looking east towards London. The bridge was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and completed in 1838. A hare runs along the track in the bottom right of the painting, possibly symbolising speed itself.[2] Some think this is a reference to the limits of technology.[3] Others believe the animal is running in fear of the new machinery and Turner meant to hint at the danger of man's new technology destroying the inherent sublime elements of nature.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Great Western began running trains from 1838.


External video
Turner's Rain, Steam, and Speed – The Great Western Railway at Smarthistory.
  1. ^ Gerald E. Finley (1999), Angel in the Sun: Turner's vision of history, McGill-Queen's Press, ISBN 0-7735-1747-2
  2. ^ Gage, John. Turner: Rain, Steam, and Speed. London, 1972. pp. 19–22. Cited in Hugh Honour. Romanticism. New York, 1979.
  3. ^ Hanning, Barbara. (2010) Concise History of Western Music. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, p. 402.
  4. ^ Meslay, Olivier. (2005) J. M. W. Turner: The Man Who Set Painting on Fire, 'New Horizons' series. London: Thames & Hudson, 2005, p. 133.

External links[edit]