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

Turner's Modern World

28 October 2020 – 7 March 2021

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.

Joseph Mallord William Turner, 'The Burning of the Houses of Parliament' c.1834–5
Joseph Mallord William Turner
The Burning of the Houses of Parliament c.1834–5
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

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
stormy sea with boats

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


Tate Britain
Plan your visit


28 October 2020 – 7 March 2021

Currently booking until 31 December 2020

  • 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 Turner and Rothko collection route


£22 FREE with ticket for Members

Concessions available

See Booking and Ticketing FAQs


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  • A one-way route
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For more information take a look through our frequently asked questions.

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Members Private View: Turner's Modern World

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Enjoy seasonal dishes inspired by Turner’s Modern World in the Grand Saloon

Tate Britain Private view

Tate Collective After Hours Turner's Modern World

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