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J M W Turner is Britain’s most famous landscape painter and a special figure in Petworth where he lived and worked. Yet beyond his artistic achievements, little is still known of the man himself and the events of his life: the tragic committal of his mother to a lunatic asylum, the personal sacrifices he made to effect his stratospheric rise and the bizarre double life he chose to lead in the last years of his life.
Franny Moyle’s new book tells the story of the man who at the time was considered visionary at best and ludicrous at worst. A resolute adventurer, he found new ways of revealing Britain to the British, astounding his audience with his invention and intelligence. Set against the backdrop of the nest homes in Britain, the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution, this is an astonishing portrait of one of the most important figures in Western art and a vivid evocation of Britain and Europe in flux.
Franny Moyle studied Art History at St John’s College, Cambridge. She enjoyed a career in arts programming at the BBC that culminated in her becoming the corporation’s first Commissioner for Arts and Culture. She is now a freelance executive producer and writer. She is the author of Constance: The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs Oscar Wilde and Desperate Romantics: The Private Lives of the Pre-Raphaelites.