Tate Britain Exhibition

Turner's Modern World

Joseph Mallord William Turner, Rain, Steam and Speed - the Great Western Railway exhibited 1844. The National Gallery, London. © The National Gallery, London

Joseph Mallord William Turner, Rain, Steam and Speed exhibited 1844. The National Gallery, London. © The National Gallery, London

Tate Britain is currently closed

For more information please go to our FAQs and if you have any further queries please contact hello@tate.org.uk. We look forward to welcoming you back when we reopen.

How J.M.W. Turner broke convention to paint his changing times

One of Britain’s greatest artists, J.M.W. Turner lived and worked at the peak of the industrial revolution. Steam replaced sail; machine-power replaced manpower; political and social reforms transformed society.

Many artists ignored these changes but Turner faced up to these new challenges. This exhibition will show how he transformed the way he painted to better capture this new world.

Beginning in the 1790s, when Turner first observed the effects of modern life, the exhibition will follow his fascination with the impact of industrialisation. It will show how he became involved in the big political questions of the time: campaigning against slavery and making paintings that expressed the horrors of the Napoleonic Wars.

This landmark exhibition will bring together major works by Turner from Tate and other collections, including The Fighting Temeraire 1839 and Rail, Steam and Speed 1844. It will explore what it meant to be a modern artist in his lifetime and present an exciting new perspective on his work and life.

Exhibition organised by Tate Britain in association with the Kimbell Art Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘Snow Storm - Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth’ exhibited 1842
Joseph Mallord William Turner
Snow Storm - Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth exhibited 1842
sea scene with boat and whale

Joseph Mallord William Turner Whalers c.1845 Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York)

battlefield with bodies of soldiers and horses beneath a stormy sky

Joseph Mallord William Turner The Field of Waterloo c. 1817 Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge Bequeathed by A.W. Fawkes, 1942

stormy sea with boats

Joseph Mallord William Turner Wreck of a Transport Ship c. 1801 Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon

Tate Britain

London SW1P 4RG
Plan your visit


28 October 2020 – 12 September 2021

  • Timed tickets must be booked before visiting
  • All visitors including Members need to book a ticket
  • This ticket includes access to the British art collection routes
  • Members also get access to the Rothko and Turner collection route


£22 / Free with ticket for Members

Concessions available

£5 for Tate Collective. 16–25? Sign up and log in to book

All of our galleries are currently closed due to national restrictions. In line with government guidance we will open no earlier than 17 May. Ticket bookings will open shortly before this date - sign up for emails for updates.

See Booking and Ticketing FAQs


  • Carefully managed visitor numbers
  • A one-way route
  • Increased cleaning regimes in toilets and high use areas
  • Protective screens on desks and counters
  • Hand sanitiser dispensers throughout the gallery
  • The cloakroom is closed so avoid bringing bulky coats or bags


  • Only visit with people from your household or support bubble (maximum group size six)
  • Please follow all the safety instructions onsite
  • Keep your distance and act on any guidance our staff give you
  • Wear a face covering, unless you are exempt
  • Pay by card or contactless
  • Use the hand sanitiser provided and wash your hands regularly
  • If you are not feeling well, help keep everyone safe by staying at home

For more information take a look through our frequently asked questions.

Check our Tate Britain page before you travel.

Supported by

With additional support from

The Turner's Modern World Exhibition Supporters Circle

Tavolozza Foundation

Tate Americas Foundation, Tate Patrons and Tate Members

Media partners

We recommend

  • Tate Britain

    The Otolith Group: Hydra Decapita

    Until 31 Oct 2021

    Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar’s Hydra Decapita is an Afrofuturist sonic fiction on the art of darkness. It meditates on …


Find out more