Standing in the Sun: A Life of J.M.W. Turner
Josephy Mallord William Turner was one of the greatest artists of the nineteenth century. The son of a Covent Garden barber, he rose rapidly to fame in the art world and then dominated for forty years. His oil paintings, watercolours and sketches frequently reflect the era, a time of rapid social change affected by political upheaval, war and industrial revolution. Yet despite an enduring reputation as a visionary painter Turner has remained in many ways a mysterious figure. A secretive man, he was also full of contradictions: reclusive yet gregarious, private yet boastful, tough yet sensitve. He was also a long-term bachelor who clandestinely fathered two daughters.
Much has been written about Turner's life, and many exuberant anecdotes passed down. The challenge, as Anthony Bailey discovered during his investigations, is to distinguish plain fact from elaborate fabrication. As well as unearthing fresh material and reappraising existing information, he has looked at many of Turner's paintings and sketches first hand, but this has always been with the aim of reassessing, the man rather than the works. Bailey's equally powerful skills as biographer and writer enable him to shed new light on Turner's life and create a truthful, lively and evocative picture of a complicated man and an artistic genius,