Late Turner: Painting Set Free – Tate Britain

I was supposed to be meeting a friend on Sunday, but she couldn’t make it, so I decided to go to a couple of exhibitions instead. The first was Late Turner: Painting Set Free at Tate Britain.

The exhibition covers J.M.W. Turner’s work between 1835 and his death in 1851. I adore Turner and thoroughly enjoyed looking at his later works, which give the lie to the concept that old age automatically has to mean settling down into a reactionary retirement. Turner continued to experiment and push the boundaries well into his last years, despite derision and misunderstanding from his contemporaries.

One of my favourite paintings is Rain, Steam and Speed: The Great Western Railway (1844), which is just incredible, with the train rushing towards you, the sense of movement clear within the picture. I loved seeing it here. I also loved the Roman and classical-inspired pictures with their beautiful landscapes, as well as the watercolours of the burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons. Another favourite was Peace: Burial at Sea (1842) – I thought the light on the water was beautiful.

This exhibition is brilliant, and strongly recommended – but it can get crowded, so I would suggest trying to go at a quiet time if possible.