Joseph Mallord William Turner

River Scene, with Steamboat

c.1826

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Medium
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 141 x 187 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D20276
Turner Bequest CCXXII Q

Display caption

Steamboats turn up with surprising frequency in Turner’s landscapes. Sometimes they seem to take on weighty symbolic associations; sometimes, as here, they seem just a natural part of the landscape.

Whereas previously only the very wealthiest could undertake long trips easily, in the nineteenth century a wider section of the population was able to travel further more frequently. This included artists such as Turner himself. Travel became more frequent and more casual, so that modern ‘tourism’ took the place of the more formal, aristocratic ‘Grand Tour’.

Gallery label, September 2004

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