By James Hamilton
J. M.W. Turner (1775–1851) is renowned for his sublime and dramatic landscapes and seascapes. The sea held a particular fascination for the artist, exemplified not only by the subject matter of many of his paintings but also by his own collection of ship models and personal experiences as an amateur sailor. This handsome book—written by Turner expert James Hamilton and published in conjunction with a traveling exhibition organized by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute and Manchester City Galleries—focuses primarily on the artist’s spectacular seascapes dating from the 1840s, the last decade of his illustrious career.
Turner: The Late Seascapes provides new and provocative insights into these powerful works, relating them to the artist’s interest in poetry and drama as well as his curiosity about science, optics, and photography. Turner’s extensive travels—which clearly fed his imagination and inspired his choice of subject matter—are explored in depth, as is the relationship between Turner’s paintings and seventeenth-century Dutch precedents. Hamilton also examines the important role of the pendant in Turner’s late art, arguing that his paired works have intentional associative narrative, stylistic, and chromatic meanings. In addition, the author traces the evolution of Turner’s famous Whaling series, offering a new source for it, and examines Turner’s friendships with the Connecticut sea captain Elisha Morgan and the English photographer John Mayall, both of which have been previously overlooked in the literature on the artist.
Including more than 90 examples of Turner’s dramatic and lively marine pictures—70 of which are reproduced in full color—this elegant book sheds fascinating new light on one of the world’s most beloved artists.
176 pages 9 x 11 inches
70 color and 21 black-and-white illustrations
Published by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in association with Yale University Press, New Haven.