J.M.W. Turner: Standing in the Sun

J.M.W. Turner: Standing in the Sun

Anthony Bailey

Language: English

Pages: 847

ISBN: 2:00296696

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Joseph Mallord William Turner is arguably Britain's greatest and most mysterious painter, whose range of work encompasses seascape and landscape, immensely powerful oil painting and intimate watercolour. His friend and colleague C.R. Leslie remembered him thus: 'Turner was short and stout, and had a sturdy, sailor-like walk. He might be taken for the captain of a river steamboat at first glance; but a second would find more in his face than belongs in any ordinary mind. There was that peculiar keenness of expression in his eye that is only seen in men of constant habits of observation'. The son of a Covent garden barber and a woman who died in Bethlehem Hospital, Turner achieved fame and fortune during his lifetime. Although he possessed a wide-ranging imagination, he was an often incoherent speaker and writer, and his muddled will produced much discord - it is a wonder that, despite avaricious relatives and incompetent lawyers, so many of his works are now in the hands of the nation, and publicly proclaim his genius.

In this previously unavailable biography, Anthony Bailey has drawn upon archival material, scholarly literature and research, as well as studying many of JMW Turner's sketchbooks, paintings and watercolours. Uncovering fresh material, as well as pulling together previously known facts, Bailey sheds new light on this complicated and secretive artistic figure.

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thought of Carthage and yet also the thrill, the delight, from what all his senses were reacting to: sketch after sketch, turning the pages, pencil or brush in a fast flurry of strokes, the days and nights not long enough to get it all down. In 1840 the watercolour artist William Callow was a fellow guest at the Hotel Europa. They sat together at meals and talked. Callow later recalled Turner as ‘a short, dark man, inclined to stoutness, with a merry twinkle in his eye … One evening whilst I was

cynical kind of body, who seems to love his art for no other reason than because it is his own. Lockhart grew black as thunder when Turner was pertinacious and stupid, and looked as if he could have willingly said, “You blockhead!’”55 Turner, despite his breadth of mind, was not quick-witted, particularly when among ‘intellectuals’. Sometimes, on social occasions, he was immersed in himself. At a dinner in Greenwich given for Charles Dickens by his friends, before the novelist set off for Italy

above the surface although made of iron. The Art-Union was put in mind of ‘the occasional outbreaks of the madman’. Thackeray could not make up his mind whether the picture was sublime or ridiculous but was certain that it was ‘the most tremendous piece of colour that ever was seen; it sets the corner of the room in which it hangs into a flame’. But John Ruskin a few years later was in no doubt that it was the ‘noblest sea that Turner has ever painted … the noblest certainly ever painted by man’.

1 Dolbadern Castle 1, 2 Dole 1 Domenichino 1 Don Quixote (Cervantes) 1 Donaldson, T. L. 1 Doncaster 1, 2 Donne, John 1 Dorchester 1 Dordrecht 1 Dorset 1 Douglas, Reverend J. 1, 2 Dove inn, Hammersmith Terrace 1 Dover 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 Dover Castle 1 Dow, Alexander 1 Doyle, Dicky 1 Dresden 1 Dryden, John 1 Dubois, Edward 1 Dudley 1, 2 Dulwich College 1 Dunkirk 1 Dupuis, Evelina (T’s daughter) see Turner, Evelina Dupuis, Evelina (T’s granddaughter) 1 Dupuis, Hanmer (T’s grandson) 1 Dupuis,

Trafalgar. This picture – and a similar watercolour he made34 – shows three views of a ship, allegedly the Victory, off the south-west shore of the Isle of Wight, though she does not seem to have a jury-rig, as the Victory did following a temporary refit at Gibraltar after the battle, or an ensign at half-mast, as would be expected with the Admiral’s body on board. Turner once again put some fishermen in a small boat directly in the path of the warship, which is running eastwards up the Channel

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