'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.
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.