Rain, Steam and Speed, The Great Western Railway, Painted before 1844

J.M.W. Turner

TitleRain, Steam and Speed, The Great Western Railway, Painted before 1844
ArtistJ.M.W. Turner
Paper Size (W x H)44 x 34 ins
Edition Size50
Price £1,200.00

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'Rain, Steam and Speed, The Great Western Railway' is an oil painting by the 19th-century British painter J. M. W. Turner. The painting was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1844, though it may have been painted earlier. 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 tiny hare appears in the bottom right corner of the painting. Some have this as a reference to the limits of technology. 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.

The power and significance of this image seem to lie as much in its purely formal evocation of the speed and power of modern life. Critics who saw the original painting were baffled, but also fascinated, by the artist’s treatment of such an up-to-date theme, especially his dramatic evocation of speed.

The print is hand numbered and accompanied by a certificate signed by the Master Printer and bearing a matching number to the print.

About the Artist

J.M.W. Turner

Joseph Mallord William Turner was the most original genius in landscape painting of the nineteenth century. He was born in 1775 to a hairdresser of Covent Garden and his rudimentary elementary education was enhanced by his entrance to the schools of the Royal Academy in 1789.

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