Young Mr. Turner
The First Forty Years, 1775–1815
Imprint: Paul Mellon Centre
Series: J.M.W. Turner: A Life in Art
A complex figure, and divisive during his lifetime, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) has long been considered Britain’s greatest painter. An artist of phenomenal invention, complexity, and industry, Turner is now one of the world’s most popular painters. This comprehensive new account of his early life draws together recent scholarship, corrects errors in the existing literature, and presents a wealth of new findings. In doing so, it furnishes a more detailed understanding than ever before of the connections between Turner’s life and art.
Taking a strictly chronological approach, Eric Shanes addresses Turner’s intellectual complexity and depth, his technical virtuosity, his personal contradictions, and his intricate social and cultural relations. Shanes draws on decades of familiarity with his subject, as well as newly discovered source material, such as the artist’s principal bank records, which shed significant light on his patronage and sales. The result, written in a warm, engaging style, is a comprehensive and magnificently illustrated volume which will fundamentally shape the future of Turner studies.
“Eric Shane’s remarkable book about the first half of J. M. W. Turner career is the summation of thirty years of research into the painter’s work… I have never seen a more thoroughly presented book about an English artist.”—Tim Hilton, Literary Review~Tim Hilton, Literary Review
“May well be the definitive biography on the great British landscape and maritime artist.”—Jack Watkins, Mayfair~Jack Watkins, Mayfair
“Mesmerizing across all its 552 pages . . . engaging and convincing . . . the fine-grained chapters, some devoted to spans of only a few months, offer novelistic depth . . . The great attraction of the book is Shanes’s penetration of Turner’s artistic thought.”—Christopher Lyon, Bookforum~Christopher Lyon, Bookforum
“This dazzling, sumptuously illustrated book brings fresh insight into Turner’s early career, and is bound to become the definitive biography of our greatest painter.”—Rebecca Wallensteiner, The Lady~Rebecca Wallensteiner, The Lady
'Yale University Press has spared no expense in producing, for Shanes, a lushly illustrated volume, gleaming and glossy, so boastful a block of a book that it is almost too heavy to hold.’ - Frances Wilson, New Statesman~Frances Wilson, New Statesman
'A dazzling account of the artist's first 40 years puts all previous biographies in the shade' - John Carey, The Sunday Times~John Carey, The Sunday Times
“Eric Shanes has been working on Turner for almost forty years… he has now published the first volume of a spectacular biography. The glory of this study lies in its 450 illustrations, mostly in colour. The diversity and beauty of these pictures is startling. This is a story that emerges most compellingly through a series of images rather than words.”—Dinah Birch, TLS~Dinah Birch, TLS
“Young Mr. Turner is an impressively scholarly and beautifully illustrated overview of the painter’s early career… the fruit of thirty years study, and it shows.”—Michael Prodger, Sunday Times~Michael Prodger, Sunday Times
~Mark Jones, Albion
“A forty-year artistic journey which excellently tracks and records the many small steps along the way… This is an affectionate, clear and well-written account of the first half of Turner's career, beautifully illustrated. If the second volume is as good as this one, these two books will be the benchmark for Turner studies for many years to come.”— Mark Jones, Albion, March 2017