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Overheard. . . The things they're saying about Turner's 'Rain Steam and Speed, the Great Western Railway' at the National Gallery

1. "He's so good at atmospheric effects, isn't he? It's just alive, isn't it? It's not really a train at all. In fact, I've always thought it looked a bit like a black bottle. But really it's a very sort of moral painting. A real defence of the steam age. Fabulous."

Middle-aged man in tweed jacket with two foreign students.

2. "C'est magnifique."

"Mais ou est le train?"

Two elderly French women.

3. "There is tremendous expressive power in the diminishing diagonal of the bridge which... mmm... stands firm under the assault of a storm which seems of truly... cosmic dimensions...Yes. That's right I think."

German backpacker reading slowly from an (English) guide-book to his wife and two-year-old child.

4. "Oh yeah. Turner. Right. So what's next?"

Large American woman.

5. "You see, as he grew older, he became almost blind. Did you know that? Light became everything for him. Look. Can you see? Do you see what I am saying?"

American man in docksiders to his bored wife.

6. "C'est super. Non?"

"C'est fantastique"

Two Frenchwomen to a party of streetwise French kids.

7. "Hey. The beginning of abstract art."

Laughing biker to his girlfriend.

8. "Look. There it is."

"Yeah. Cool".

Two American men, one carrying a baby.

9."Turner... Turner... Turner..."

Twenty Japanese tourists, with a guide. (In unison).

10. "I'm too tired too look at it"

"Well... while we're here, eh?"

"You know they expect us to walk back to the bus?"

Elderly English couple.