Fear and Fascination
11 February - 13 May 2012 in our Art Gallery. FREE
Experience the fear and fascination surrounding the birth of early railways, with previously unseen pieces of our earliest railway artwork. Exhibition and museum entry is free.
The railways brought change to Britain on a massive scale. Before 1830, much of the landscape was untouched by the industrial world. Railway lines brought tunnels and viaducts that changed the look of the landscape, making an enormous visual impact.
In prints and paintings, artists captured the sense of awe and wonder people felt on first seeing these enormous constructions. Cartoons reveal the anxiety and fear people felt about the dangers of railway travel and the black humour they used to deal with these feelings. Railway companies countered this by commissioning images which showed railway lines in harmony with the landscape, and which were designed to calm concerned public and landowners.
A selection of the pictures that will be on display in the exhibition.
Many of the artists who first made images of the railways are unknown today but you can find out more about some of them on Wikipedia.
Remember anyone can edit Wikipedia, so if you spot an error or have something to add, don't tell us – go ahead and edit.
- John Cooke Bourne
- Thomas Talbot Bury
- Henry Booth
- John Wilson Carmichael
- Thomas Mann Baynes
- Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait
Although railways only began making a real impact on people’s lives in the 19th century, the ideas behind them were much older. More about the development of the railways
Our art collection contains hundreds of images made in the first few decades of railways in Britain. Artists have drawn inspiration from the railways since the first line opened. More about the different ways artists have shown the railways
For more on our art collection, see the National Railway Museum blog.
- The Art of Advertising: Posters and paintings by Royal Academy artists 1924
- Japan's First Railway: colour woodblock prints from the 1870s
Hints for holidays, experience the British seaside holiday
26 May - 2 September
Transport yourself to the British seaside past in our new art gallery exhibition. Immerse yourself in brightly coloured prints and some familiar scenes from some of our best-loved holiday destinations. Explore the advertising, glamour and excitement of a summer holiday trip with rarely seen images from our collection.
This exhibition is part of the 'Art in Yorkshire' project, supported by Tate.
Funded by The Foundation for Sport and the Arts.
- Past and Present: © Science Museum Pictorial / Science & Society Picture Library -- All rights reserved.
- Working Shaft: © NRM Pictorial Collection / Science & Society Picture Library -- All rights reserved.
- Bristol Station: © NRM Pictorial Collection / Science & Society Picture Library -- All rights reserved.