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Turner, buildings and technology

Perhaps one of the best loved Turner paintings is 'Rain, Steam and Speed'. (Image courtesy of The National Gallery). It shows us that the artist was just as concerned and interested in new technology as we are today. The painting depicts the Maidenhead railway bridge begun on Brunel's design in 1837 with a view east towards London.

Much has changed in our modern world but what connects us is a shared concern for progress combined with a worldwide concern for social justice. Our forum on Future Cities and Sustainability next March (2017) at London's Institute of Engineering and Technology will touch on technology, economic advancement and social mobility. On Turner's travels to Italy to record his impressions of classical architecture, he was also a keen observer of poverty and - according to records - was very moved by what he saw.

Human frailty against the elements was an additional theme but 'the painter of light' also gave us joy of colour in his sea and landscapes. Therefore do not miss your last chance to visit 'JMW Turner: Adventures in Colour' at Turner Contemporary, Margate until 8th January 2016 (

JMW Turner, Vermillion Towers, c1834, Gouache and watercolour on paper, courtesy Tate London 2015

Arguably this is the best time of year to experience the bracing winds and rain of the UK's coast so well described in Turner's art and his paintings completed in Margate - a place which Turner felt provided him with a special quality of light,

Turner Contemporary's Director Victoria Pomery contributed to our recent forum on regeneration because of the impact that the museum has had on the area and its economy through increased tourism - a theme we shall we returning to in our forum in March. Please enquire about details.

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