|Charging Into The Modern Turne
Turner has out-prodiged almost all former prodigies. He has made a picture with real rain, behind which is real sunshine, and you expect a rainbow every minute. Meanwhile, there comes a train down upon you, really moving at the rate of fifty miles a hour, and which the reader had best make haste to see, lest it should dash out of the picture....as for the manner in which 'Speed' is done, of that the less is said the better, -only it is a positive fact that there is a steam coach going fifty miles and hour. The world has never seen anything like this picture .
This was Thackeray's response to Turner's Rain, Steam and Speed upon seeing it at the Royal Academy exhibition in 1844. A large canvas displayed in the place of honour on the back wall of the East room of the exhibition, the painting was at the time and important and provocative comment on modern technology in general and more specifically on the steam locomotive and the Great Western Railw...