Ruskin on Turner by Dinah Birch; The Victorian Painter’s World by Paula Gillett - review by Anne Clark Amor

Anne Clark Amor

Most Artists is Very Dissipated

Ruskin on Turner

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Cassell 144pp £25 order from our bookshop

The Victorian Painter’s World

By

Alan Sutton 299pp £16.95 order from our bookshop
 

 

‘Introduced today to the man who beyond all doubt is the greatest of the age; greatest in every faculty of the imagination, in every branch of scenic knowledge, at once the painter and poet of the day,’ wrote Ruskin of his first meeting with Turner in 1840. Nobody but a retired coachman of Tottenham shared his opinion then, but his enthusiasm was unlimited, and through his writings he worked tirelessly to establish Turner’s reputation. Dinah Birch’s selection of Turner’s pictures, and of Ruskin’s criticism, mostly from Modern Painters and Praeterita, is a celebration of the relationship between the artist and his most important interpreter.Superficially the two men had much in common, being solitary, eccentric and fond of poetry and travel, yet they were never intimate, perhaps because Turner was forty-four years older, and from a different background. When he was twelve, Turner worked in an Architect’s office, but quit to become a topographer

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