Over the course of sixty years, Turner traveled thousands of miles to seek out the landscapes of England and Europe. He was drawn overwhelmingly to coasts, to the electrifying rub of the land with the sea, and he regularly observed their union from the cliff, the beach, the pier, or from a small boat. Fueled by his prodigious talent, Turner revealed to himself and others the personality of the British and European landscapes and the moods of the surrounding seas. He kept no diary, but his many sketchbooks are intensely autobiographical, giving clues to his techniques, his itineraries, his income and expenditures, and his struggle to master the theories of perspective.
In Turner, James Hamilton takes advantage of new material discovered since the 1975 bicentennial celebration of the artist’s birth, paying particular attention to the diary of sketches with which Turner narrated his life. Hamilton’s textured portrait is fully complemented by a sixteen-page illustrations insert, including many color reproductions of Turner’s most famous landscape paintings. Seamlessly blending vibrant biography with astute art criticism, Hamilton writes with energy, style, and erudition to address the contradictions of this great artist.
From the Hardcover edition.
'With splendid clarity and shrewd humour, James Hamilton evokes the visceral world of a great artist and a fascinating character.' MIKE LEIGH
J.M.W Turner exhibited his work proudly but was correspondingly reticent about his private life.
In 1799, aged 24, he became an Associate of the Royal Academy at the youngest possible age. While influential collectors competed to buy his paintings, Turner travelled widely, observing landscape and people, and collecting material for a cycle of images that would come to express the collective identity of Britain.
In this lucid blend of vibrant biography and acute art history, James Hamilton introduces Turner to a new generation of readers and paints a picture of a uniquely generous human being, a giant of the nineteenth century and a beacon for the twenty-first.
In this rich and fascinating book, James Hamilton investigates the vibrant exchange between culture and business in nineteenth-century Britain, which became a center for world commerce following the industrial revolution. He explores how art was made and paid for, the turns of fashion, and the new demands of a growing middle-class, prominent among whom were the artists themselves.
While leading figures such as Turner, Constable, Landseer, Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Dickens are players here, so too are the patrons, financiers, collectors and industrialists; publishers, entrepreneurs, and journalists; artists' suppliers, engravers, dealers and curators; hostesses, shopkeepers and brothel keepers; quacks, charlatans, and auctioneers.
Hamilton brings them all vividly to life in this kaleidoscopic portrait of the business of culture in nineteenth-century Britain, and provides thrilling and original insights into the working lives of some of the era's most celebrated artists.