Rain, Steam and Speed. The Great Western Railway
By J.M.W. Turner


Rain, Steam and Speed. The Great Western Railway
By J.M.W. Turner R.A. (1775-1851)
In the Tate Gallery, London

It is interesting to note, when recalling the criticism that has been levelled at Turner's work, that he achieved success at a very early age, and though he sold many of his pictures for comparatively small sums, he refused offers of large amounts for work which he destined for the nation.

He entered the Academy Schools in 1789, and a year later, at the age of fifteen, he exhibited in the Royal Academy a picture entitled "View of the Archbishop's Palace at Lambeth."

His life work may be divided into three periods. The first, extending from 1800 to 1820, was his period of apprenticeship, during which he followed the styles of the Great Masters. The work he produced during this time is notable for its absence of colour. The period from 1820 to 1835 was a transition stage, in which he adapted the principles of others to his own ideas. During this time he learned the value of colour and employed it in his pictures. From 1835 he became "a law unto himself," relying solely upon the impressions he received from nature to guide him in his work. To this period belongs "Rain, Steam and Speed" as well as his "Burial at Sea." Turner's later tendencies were strongly inclined towards elemental dramas of storm and conflagration, and this preference is shown in the present picture, which is interesting because it was exhibited at the Academy in 1844, the year before his health began to fail and his period of decline set in. The picture is also a triumph of Turner's marvellous memory, which enabled him to recall the slightest natural effects by the easiest mental effort. It was the result of a train journey in a rain-storm which so attractd him that he studied the atmospheric effects for several minutes with his head protruding from the carriage window.

From the book "Famous Paintings" printed in 1913.

Large files of this public domain print are available at Stock Photos at Songs of Praise
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Online "Name the Painting"









Rain Steam and Speed by Turner

Turner paintings at CGFA

J.M.W. Turner, Painter of Light

Joseph Mallord William Turner, the First Impressionist
at Ellen's Place

Joseph Mallord William Turner
at Wikipedia

Joseph Mallord William Turner Paintings
at Olga's Gallery

Joseph Mallord William Turner

William Turner
biography at CGFA

Turner biography
at Web Museum

Joseph Mallord William Turner
at the Art Chive

Prints after J.M.W. Turner

J.M.W. Turner
at The Victorian Web

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