After Joseph Mallord William Turner
Rain, Steam, and Speed, engraved by R. Brandard published 1859–61

Artwork details

Rain, Steam, and Speed, engraved by R. Brandard
Date Published 1859–61
Medium Engraving on paper
Acquisition Transferred from the British Museum 1988
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Display caption

Turner’s painting, reproduced in this engraving, seems to summarise modernity for Turner’s generation. A steam train speeds along a bridge (probably Maidenhead Bridge over the Thames) whilst a vortex of rain swirls around it. Ahead of the train runs a tiny hare, a traditional, natural emblem of speed.

However, the power and significance of this image seems 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.

September 2004

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