Friday, September 16, 2016

Art History: JMW Turner and the Industrial Revolution

The BBC has made The Genius of Turner: Painting the Industrial Revolution available again via iPlayer. You have 26 days left to watch the programme that was first broadcast in 2013.

Painting the Industrial Revolution

This documentary places Turner and some of the paintings he produced firmly in the context of the changes in science and industry in 19th century Britain.  This was the age of steam - when ships with engines replaced those with sails and when railway engines began to cross the land.

It was a really momentous time - and Turner recorded some of the changes in paint. He painted machines, science, technology and industry. In turn, painting some of these subjects also helped change the way that Turner painted

The film considers nine of Turner's paintings and considers what was happening in industrial history at the time.

Rain, Steam, and Speed - The Great Western Railway
Location: Maidenhead Railway Bridge looking east,
across the River Thames​ between Taplow and Maidenhead
The bridge was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and completed in 1838. 
Royal Academy in 1844
Collection: National Gallery
Various 'experts' provide comments including Professor Sam Smiles (the Turner Scholar) , Simon Schama and Tracy Emin.

Here's the beginning of the film on Vimeo

The Genius of Turner from Fresh One on Vimeo.

If you're not able to view iPlayer I also found the documentary at various places online. I'm not sure how legit they are but for what it's worth here are the links (which I've not checked for content or quality)



  1. Thank you for the links, it's allowed me to plan my Sunday evening's entertainment. Particularly pertinent as we are having lunch on an old steam train.

  2. Also worth reading the great new book "The extraordinary life and momentous times of J.M.W. Turner" by Franny Moyle penguin viking


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