Published by Thames and Hudson, in association with the National Maritime Museum
“One of The Observer’s Art Books of the Year"
J.M.W. Turner dominated the art of the sea during the first half of the nineteenth century. In an age of global naval warfare, rapid technological change and increased travel, the artist’s ceaselessly creative response to contemporary maritime affairs helped radically to redefine Britain’s cultural relationship with the sea.
This beautifully illustrated book brings together many of Turner’s most celebrated seascapes, from his transformative Academy paintings of the late 1790s and early 1800s to the compelling and provocative marine subjects he produced in the final years of his life. It reveals the full extent of the artist’s engagement with the sea, foregrounding important but rarely seen paintings and throwing new light on some of his most iconic works, including The Wreck of a Transport Ship, The Battle of Trafalgar and The Fighting ‘Temeraire’.
The authors examine the myriad ways in which Turner responded to the maritime art of the past while challenging his audience with new ways of representing the sea; whether at the Royal Academy, in his own purpose-built gallery, or as a leading figure within a highly evolved print culture. This publication reveals how Turner first established his credentials as a painter of the sea against a rich and cosmopolitan tradition of marine painting, exemplified during the previous two centuries by Willem van de Velde and Claude-Joseph Vernet. It examines the artist’s competitive response to the work of his contemporaries, including John Constable, Augustus Wall Callcott, Richard Parkes Bonington and Clarkson Stanfield, and explores the complex legacy of his seascapes through the maritime subjects of later British, European and American artists.
Published to coincide with a major touring exhibition organized by Royal Museums Greenwich, Turner & the Sea is the first study to explore the full breadth of Turner’s lifelong preoccupation with the sea.
Christine Riding is Senior Curator and Head of Arts at the National Maritime Museum. She was previously Curator of Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-century British Art at Tate Britain, and was Deputy Editor of Art History (The Journal of the Association of Art Historians).
Richard Johns is a Lecturer in the History of Art at the University of York. He was previously Curator of Art (pre-1800) at the National Maritime Museum. He has written on various aspects of art in Britain during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and is the co-author, with James Davey, of Broadsides: Caricature and the Navy 1756–1815 (2012).
With contributions by Leo Costello, Eleanor Hughes, Anne Lyles,
Cicely Robinson, Philippa Simpson and Sam Smiles.
- 288 Pages