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Art Diary

A World of Care: Turner and the Environment

28 June 2024

In his highly atmospheric landscapes, J.M.W. Turner subtly documented the rapid industrial developments of the 19th century. Many of his paintings foreshadow the damaging effect of these advances on the natural world: plumes of grey smoke rise from buildings in an overcrowded London; orange sunsets appear hazy through a sky thick with pollution; steam trains and boats tear across the frame. This show at the artist’s house museum in London includes works such as Fire at the Grand Storehouse of the Tower of London (1841) and Sunset (1830–35) drawing connections between the drastic environmental changes he witnessed some 200 years ago and the current climate crisis (6 July–27 October). Find out more from the Turner’s House website.

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Sunset (1830–35), J.M.W. Turner. Photo: © Tate Sunset

Shields, on the River Tyne (1823), engraved by C. Turner after J.M.W. Turner. Photo: © Tate

The Deluge (1828), engraved by J.P. Quilley after J.M.W. Turner. Photo: © Tate