Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88) lived as if electricity shot through his sinews and crackled at his finger ends. He was a gentle and empathetic family man, but had a shockingly loose, libidinous manner and a volatility that could lead him to slash his paintings.
James Hamilton reveals the artist in his many contexts: the talented Suffolk lad, transported to the heights of fashion; the rake-on-the-make in London, learning his craft in the shadow of Hogarth; the society-portrait painter in Bath and London who earned huge sums by charming the right people into his studio. With fresh insights into original sources, Gainsborough: A Portrait transforms our understanding of this fascinating man, and enlightens the century that bore him.
James Hamilton is an art and cultural historian. His books include TURNER: A LIFE, shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and A STRANGE BUSINESS: MAKING ART AND MONEY IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY BRITAIN, which in 2014 was named Art Book of the Year by the SUNDAY TIMES.
Hamilton was until retirement in 2013 curator of art collections and projects in Portsmouth, Wakefield, Sheffield, Leeds and the University of Birmingham, where he is a Fellow of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.
In this substantially revised, updated edition - to coincide with the artist's centenary, which will be celebrated from autumn 2008 through summer 2009 - Peppiatt will incorporate confidential material Bacon gave him, which he did not include in the first edition.
This valuable, first-hand information comes from the hundreds of conversations Bacon had with Peppiatt, often late into the night, over thirty years, particularly during the periods Bacon spent living and working in Paris. It includes insights into Bacon's intimate relationships, his artistic convictions and his general view of life, as well as his acerbic comments on his contemporaries.
Peppiatt will draw on some of the fascinating information that has become available in the fifteen years since the artist died. Once jealously guarded by the artist himself, the contents of Bacon's studio can now be freely consulted; Peppiatt has had privileged access to these archives, and he will show how a number of recent discoveries - including wholly unexpected source material - have radically changed the way we look at Bacon's work.
Similarly, his recent research into the artist's background - his tortured affair with the sadistic Peter Lacy in Tangier, for instance, and the baffling circumstances of his death in Madrid - will shed light on unexplored areas of Bacon's life and work. Peppiatt will also unveil new information from several people who knew Bacon intimately and who have never gone on record previously.
An NPR Best Book of 2013
'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.
The breathtaking latest installment in Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard’s mega-bestselling Killing series transports readers to the most important era in our nation’s history, the Revolutionary War. Told through the eyes of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Great Britain’s King George III, Killing England chronicles the path to independence in gripping detail, taking the reader from the battlefields of America to the royal courts of Europe. What started as protest and unrest in the colonies soon escalated to a world war with devastating casualties. O’Reilly and Dugard recreate the war’s landmark battles, including Bunker Hill, Long Island, Saratoga, and Yorktown, revealing the savagery of hand-to-hand combat and the often brutal conditions under which these brave American soldiers lived and fought. Also here is the reckless treachery of Benedict Arnold and the daring guerilla tactics of the “Swamp Fox” Frances Marion. A must read, Killing England reminds one and all how the course of history can be changed through the courage and determination of those intent on doing the impossible.