James Mallord William Turner (1775- 1851) was both the most admired and the most derided painter of his time. His vision soon outran the taste of his contemporaries, as he began to experiment in pure forms of light and colour, producing masterpieces of impassioned tonality that were still unsold at the time of his death.
James Mallord William Turner (1775- 1851) was both the most admired and the most derided painter of his time. His ambition was to excel in all forms of painting and he worked with every possible painterly medium. His vision soon outran the taste of his contemporaries, as he began to experiment in pure forms of light and colour, producing masterpieces of impassioned tonality that were still unsold at the time of his death. Though he travelled widely, he never strayed far from the banks of his home river. He lived by the Thames, in cottages in Hammersmith and Isleworth, and he died by it in a rented house in Chelsea. He was always secretive and kept a mistress about whom little is known. Reputed to be taciturn, miserly, even mad, he was in truth a generous and emotional man who grew tired of the world's attention. Peter Ackroyd's brilliant short biography reveals the genius of the artist and the abiding qualities of the man. Now the subject of a major biopic starring Timothy Spall, and a superb Tate exhibition.
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"Ackroyd is the laureate of London" * Daily Express * "Gets closer to the heart of Turner than a book ten times as long. Everything seems pertinent, vivid and miraculously revealed. Ackroyd has a sure instinct for what matters" * Mail on Sunday * "Ackroyd's series of short lives bodes well: handy, attractive, well illlustrated, useful" * The Times * "The most admired and industrious literary biographer of his generation" * Observer *
About Peter Ackroyd
Peter Ackroyd is an award-winning historian, biographer, novelist, poet and broadcaster. He is the author of the acclaimed non-fiction bestsellers London: The Biography, Thames: Sacred River and London Under; biographies of figures including Charles Dickens, William Blake, Charlie Chaplin and Alfred Hitchcock; and a multi-volume history of England. He has won the Whitbread Biography Award, the Royal Society of Literature's William Heinemann Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award and the South Bank Prize for Literature. He holds a CBE for services to literature.
Turner: Brief Lives 2 by Peter Ackroyd
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