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

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.

Tate Britain

London SW1P 4RG
Plan your visit


28 October 2020 – 12 September 2021

  • Advance booking is recommended ​

  • 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

Supported by

The Manton Foundation

With additional support from

The Turner's Modern World Exhibition Supporters Circle:

Tavolozza Foundation

Tate Americas Foundation

Tate International Council

Tate Patrons

and Tate Members

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