This beautifully illustrated book is the first to explore Turner’s erotic works – a little-known strand in the artist’s practice – and brings together an outstanding selection of sensual and passionate drawings, all taken from Tate’s collection.
In December 1858 the prominent art critic John Ruskin supervised the destruction at the National gallery of a parcel of erotic sketches made by J.M.W. Turner. Or did he?
Speculation continues about what exactly the parcel contained, and whether it was indeed destroyed, especially given the existence of many works of an erotic nature in the Turner Bequest, now at Tate. These include sketchbooks that were formerly grouped together by Ruskin and annotated with the memorable phrase: ‘kept as evidence of a failure of mind only’.
If Ruskin's purge did take place, why were these not also burned?
Through a detailed exploration of these images and their unusual history, Ian Warrell sheds light on the hidden life of Britain’s most celebrated painter and his controversial legacy, which is sure to fascinate scholars and Turner devotees alike.
Ian Warrell is an independant curator specialising in British art of the 19th century. He has written extensively on Turner, and has curated exhibitions on many aspects of his art. He is the author of Turner's Sketchbooks and Venice with Turner, also from Tate Publishing.