Mr. Turner (2)

I have been cogitating about the comment from Edward Chaney that Mr. Turner is too focussed on issues of class.   But there surely was, and is, a class aspect to the fact that Turner was born the son of a Covent Garden barber, retained a working class accent throughout his life, but owed much of his early success to the support of major collectors, including Richard Colt Hoare, the antiquary and owner of Stourhead, Edward Lascelles, heir to Harewood, the Earl of Yarborough of Brocklesby, as well as William Beckford and John Julius Angerstein, less aristocratic collectors.   I thought that two of the convincing scenes in the film were, first, the way that Lord Egremont supported Turner at Petworth and, second, the way that Turner was supported at the RA over Constable, who was the same generation, but slightly more middle class.   It demonstrates the way that talent beat class.

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3 thoughts on “Mr. Turner (2)

  1. Edward Chaney says:


    looks a bit aspiringly posh to me (but I guess this is before he went on two grand tours and morphed into a gorilla); but whether or not the Varley sketch is of him surely we agree the 1841 Charles Turner is and there he’s still smiling and wearing one of them posh high collars; and then there’s the death mask, where he’s as toothlessly scrawny as the caricatured house puppet he bonks against the poor bookcase. And didn’t he ask for a grand funeral and leave £1000 for a handsome monument…? But I really just chucked in the classist comment as a bonus point, relevant not so much to T’s supposed heroism in rejecting millionaire matey’s filthy lucre to leave it all to Nick Serota but to his absurd depiction of Ruskin as an upper class twit who couldn’t pwonouce his rrs (praps he’s confused him with bi-sexual billionaire Beckford, with whom Mr Turner indeed stayed for several weeks at Fonthill) ….and then there’s the not-merely-‘anticipating-Impressisonism’-but-even-abstwact-xpressionism-way he sloshes the paint around… but as I say, I much prefered Topsy Turvy to Timothy Turner… xe

  2. Edward Chaney says:

    neither one nor t’other really but as usual with such questions: ‘a bit of both’ (and lots of other stuff that passeth understanding); at least more complex than the ideologically-inclined (specially the lefties) would have us believe; in any case I expect he would have agreed with Nietzsche (had he lived a little longer):: ‘The truth is ugly. We have art so that we may not perish by the truth’

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