James Hamilton - Gainsborough - Orion Publishing Group

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • E-Book £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9781474600538
    • Publication date:10 Aug 2017
  • Paperback £10.99
    More information
    • ISBN:9781474601061
    • Publication date:09 Aug 2018

Gainsborough

A Portrait

By James Hamilton

  • Hardback
  • £25.00

Frank, lucid and modern, this is a fresh portrait of Thomas Gainsborough, the most sensuous artist of the eighteenth century.

** Selected as a Book of the Year in The Times, Sunday Times and Observer **

'Compulsively readable - the pages seem to turn themselves' John Carey, Sunday Times
'Brings one of the very greatest [artists] vividly to life' Literary Review

Thomas Gainsborough lived as if electricity shot through his sinews and crackled at his finger ends. He was a gentle and empathetic family man, but had a volatility that could lead him to slash his paintings, and a loose libidinous way of speaking, writing and behaving that shocked many deeply. He would be dynamite in polite society today.

In this exhilarating new biography - the first in decades - James Hamilton reveals Gainsborough in his many contexts: the easy-going Suffolk lad, transported to the heights of fashion by a natural talent; the rake-on-the-make in London, learning his art in the shadow of Hogarth; falling on his feet when he married a duke's daughter with a handsome private income; the top society-portrait painter in Bath and London who earned huge sums by bringing the right people into his studio; the charming and amusing friend of George III and Queen Charlotte who nevertheless kept clear of the aristocratic embrace.

There has been much art history written about this chameleon of art, but with fresh insights into original sources, Gainsborough: A Portrait transforms our understanding of this fascinating man, and enlightens the century that bore him.

Biographical Notes

James Hamilton is an art and cultural historian. His books include TURNER: A LIFE, shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and A STRANGE BUSINESS: MAKING ART AND MONEY IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY BRITAIN, which in 2014 was named Art Book of the Year by the SUNDAY TIMES.

Hamilton was until retirement in 2013 curator of art collections and projects in Portsmouth, Wakefield, Sheffield, Leeds and the University of Birmingham, where he is a Fellow of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781474600521
  • Publication date: 10 Aug 2017
  • Page count: 448
  • Imprint: W&N
With great imaginative verve [Hamilton recreates] the social atmosphere of the places where the artist and his family settled ... [Hamilton] is constantly fascinating about the paintings ... His book is gorgeously illustrated and compulsively readable - the pages seem to turn themselves. Almost as good as owning a Gainsborough
A shrewd and entertaining biography ... Hamilton's approach is influenced by his perception that Gainsborough owed much to Hogarth ... This valuable insight informs both Hamilton's exploration of Gainsborough's art and his thorough and imaginative interpretation of the life ... Hamilton's book brings one of the very greatest [artists] vividly to life
Colourful and thoughtful ... What Hamilton's vivid book makes clear is just how lucky some of his sitters were; what they got for their guineas was not simply a likeness of imperishable glamour, but the company of a man who was every bit as lively and engaging as his paintings
Although [Hamilton's] primary focus is the life rather than the work ... the vivid descriptions of Gainsborough's studio practice breathe an authentic whiff of turps and linseed oil into the story ... Highly readable and brilliantly reconstructed
Hamilton is a first-rate art historian ... He gives us deft explanations of mysterious artistic effects - Gainsborough's use of ground glass in the medium, and how he might have learnt about it, and what it does to the surface. But the question of money is Hamilton's core expertise: how much Gainsborough earned and how much of it went on necessary display, such as grand houses in Bath and Pall Mall. And fascinating it is, too ... Gainsborough is one of the most lovable of great artists, and his personality shines through. This is an enjoyable biography by a writer who understands him
[A] richly humane biography of the artist ... [An] astute yet generous book
[A] wonderful new biography ... Hamilton is fascinating on Gainsborough's experimental and innovative technique, how he moved from what he calls the 'dabbing' of the artist's early paintings, with their more doll-like figures and outlines, to the characteristic loose sweeps, the 'brushing' style of his later work
James Hamilton's wholly absorbing biography is very different from the usual kind of art historical study that often surrounds such a major figure as Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88). Hamilton is positively in love with his subject, and writes with verve and enthusiasm, yet grounds it on vast research with primary and secondary sources, all impeccably noted
Hamilton's Gainsborough is a 'Jack-the-Lad', a 'swigging, gigging, kissing, drinking, fighting' good-time city boy in London and Bath ... [Hamilton] is strong both on the Gainsborough who is stirred by harvest gleaners and woodland cottages, and the Gainsborough who frets about his framing fees and boasts about the musical instruments he has bought ... [The book] gallops along at highwayman's pace
Spendthrift, talking nineteen to the dozen, laddish, musical and often resentful of the sitters that he had to paint in order to earn a living ("confounded ugly creatures"), [Gainsborough] is brought to lively and likeable life in Gainsborough: A Portrait by James Hamilton. The painter was, Hamilton says, more serious about his art than he let on, but it is those trace elements of his personality that give his pictures their sparkle
Were Mr and Mrs Andrews complete pricks? In his delightfully racy portrait of one of our most renowned British portraitists, the art historian James Hamilton suggests that Thomas Gainsborough's wedding picture of a pair of snooty Suffolk landowners is adorned with more pictures of penises than the wall of a public loo. This is just one of many new lights cast on Gainsborough, a "swigging, gigging, kissing, drinking, fighting" Jack-the-lad who, with his gift of the gab and his canny eye on the main chance, cavorts through Georgian England
This account of the Georgian portrait painter's life is set against a backdrop of dirt and highwaymen and skeletons on gibbets on Hounslow Heath. An 18th-century Scottish sex therapist even makes an appearance. But for all the fun the author has with the painter's penchant for drink and sex, the writing really takes off when Hamilton engages with Gainsborough's paintings themselves in all their swimmy, silken sheen
Glitters from beginning to end
A fine and empathetic portrait [of] a man who was as lively as his brushwork
With great imaginative verve [Hamilton recreates] the social atmosphere of the places where the artist and his family settled ... [Hamilton] is constantly fascinating about the paintings ... His book is gorgeously illustrated and compulsively readable - the pages seem to turn themselves. Almost as good as owning a Gainsborough — John Carey, Sunday Times
A shrewd and entertaining biography ... Hamilton's approach is influenced by his perception that Gainsborough owed much to Hogarth ... This valuable insight informs both Hamilton's exploration of Gainsborough's art and his thorough and imaginative interpretation of the life ... Hamilton's book brings one of the very greatest [artists] vividly to life — Robin Simon, Literary Review
Colourful and thoughtful ... What Hamilton's vivid book makes clear is just how lucky some of his sitters were; what they got for their guineas was not simply a likeness of imperishable glamour, but the company of a man who was every bit as lively and engaging as his paintings — Michael Prodger, The Times Book of the Week
Although [Hamilton's] primary focus is the life rather than the work ... the vivid descriptions of Gainsborough's studio practice breathe an authentic whiff of turps and linseed oil into the story ... Highly readable and brilliantly reconstructed — Michael Bird, Daily Telegraph
Hamilton is a first-rate art historian ... He gives us deft explanations of mysterious artistic effects - Gainsborough's use of ground glass in the medium, and how he might have learnt about it, and what it does to the surface. But the question of money is Hamilton's core expertise: how much Gainsborough earned and how much of it went on necessary display, such as grand houses in Bath and Pall Mall. And fascinating it is, too ... Gainsborough is one of the most lovable of great artists, and his personality shines through. This is an enjoyable biography by a writer who understands him — Philip Hensher, The Spectator
[A] richly humane biography of the artist ... [An] astute yet generous book — Kathryn Hughes, Guardian
[A] wonderful new biography ... Hamilton is fascinating on Gainsborough's experimental and innovative technique, how he moved from what he calls the 'dabbing' of the artist's early paintings, with their more doll-like figures and outlines, to the characteristic loose sweeps, the 'brushing' style of his later work — Lucy Lethbridge, Financial Times
James Hamilton's wholly absorbing biography is very different from the usual kind of art historical study that often surrounds such a major figure as Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88). Hamilton is positively in love with his subject, and writes with verve and enthusiasm, yet grounds it on vast research with primary and secondary sources, all impeccably noted — Marina Vaizey, The Arts Desk
Hamilton's Gainsborough is a 'Jack-the-Lad', a 'swigging, gigging, kissing, drinking, fighting' good-time city boy in London and Bath ... [Hamilton] is strong both on the Gainsborough who is stirred by harvest gleaners and woodland cottages, and the Gainsborough who frets about his framing fees and boasts about the musical instruments he has bought ... [The book] gallops along at highwayman's pace — Laura Freeman, Apollo Magazine
Spendthrift, talking nineteen to the dozen, laddish, musical and often resentful of the sitters that he had to paint in order to earn a living ("confounded ugly creatures"), [Gainsborough] is brought to lively and likeable life in Gainsborough: A Portrait by James Hamilton. The painter was, Hamilton says, more serious about his art than he let on, but it is those trace elements of his personality that give his pictures their sparkle — Michael Prodger, Sunday Times Art Books of the Year 2017
Were Mr and Mrs Andrews complete pricks? In his delightfully racy portrait of one of our most renowned British portraitists, the art historian James Hamilton suggests that Thomas Gainsborough's wedding picture of a pair of snooty Suffolk landowners is adorned with more pictures of penises than the wall of a public loo. This is just one of many new lights cast on Gainsborough, a "swigging, gigging, kissing, drinking, fighting" Jack-the-lad who, with his gift of the gab and his canny eye on the main chance, cavorts through Georgian England — Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Times Art Books of the Year 2017
This account of the Georgian portrait painter's life is set against a backdrop of dirt and highwaymen and skeletons on gibbets on Hounslow Heath. An 18th-century Scottish sex therapist even makes an appearance. But for all the fun the author has with the painter's penchant for drink and sex, the writing really takes off when Hamilton engages with Gainsborough's paintings themselves in all their swimmy, silken sheen — Teddy Jamieson, Sunday Herald Books of the Year
Glitters from beginning to end — Jonathan Wright, Catholic Herald Books of the Year
A fine and empathetic portrait [of] a man who was as lively as his brushwork — Michael Prodger, RA Magazine
W&N

The Favourite

Ophelia Field
Authors:
Ophelia Field
W&N

Slowhand

Philip Norman
Authors:
Philip Norman
Trapeze

Overshare

Rose Ellen Dix, Rosie Spaughton
Authors:
Rose Ellen Dix, Rosie Spaughton
W&N

Being John Lennon

Ray Connolly
Authors:
Ray Connolly
W&N

The Story of Britain

Roy Strong
Authors:
Roy Strong

THE CLASSIC HISTORY OF BRITAIN, FULLY UPDATEDRoy Strong has written an exemplary introduction to the history of Britain, as first designated by the Romans. It is a brilliant and balanced account of successive ages bound together by a compelling narrative which answers the questions: 'Where do we come from?' and 'Where are we going?'Beginning with the earliest recorded Celtic times, and ending with the present day of Brexit Britain, it is a remarkable achievement. With his passion, enthusiasm and wide-ranging knowledge, he is the ideal narrator. His book should be read by anyone, anywhere, who cares about Britain's national past, national identity and national prospects. Richly enjoyable, The Story of Britain will inform and enlighten readers as to how we arrived at where we are today - and why.

W&N

Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Rebecca Front
Authors:
Rebecca Front

People are odd. Even the most predictable of us sometimes defy expectations. Add to that the tricks that life plays on us and the world suddenly seems full of impossible things.As an award-winning actor and writer, Rebecca Front has always been fascinated by life's little quirks. Impossible Things Before Breakfast is a collection of true stories about surprising turns of events, bizarre misunderstandings and improbable life lessons. We learn, among other things, how gazing at the stars can help you communicate with teenagers, how a mushroom can undermine an ancient ritual, and why everyone should wear a cape.Combining elegant writing, wry humour and genuine insight, this brilliant collection prises open the lid on ordinary life and feasts on the impossible.

W&N

The King and the Catholics

Antonia Fraser
Authors:
Antonia Fraser

The story of Catholic Emancipation begins with the violent Anti-Catholic Gordon Riots in 1780, fuelled by the reduction in Penal Laws against the Roman Catholics harking back to the sixteenth century. Some fifty years later, the passing of the Emancipation Bill was hailed as a 'bloodless revolution'. Had the Irish Catholics been a 'millstone', as described by an English aristocrat, or were they the prime movers? While the English Catholic aristocracy and the Irish peasants and merchants approached the Catholic Question in very different ways, they manifestly shared the same objective. Antonia Fraser brings colour and humour to the vivid drama with its huge cast of characters: George III, who opposed Emancipation on the basis of the Coronation Oath; his son, the indulgent Prince of Wales, who was enamoured with the Catholic Maria Fitzherbert before the voluptuous Lady Conyngham; Wellington and the 'born Tory' Peel vying for leadership; 'roaring' Lord Winchilsea; the heroic Daniel O'Connell. Expertly written and deftly argued, The King and Catholics is also a distant mirror of our times, reflecting the political issues arising from religious intolerance.

W&N

Relish

Ruth Cowen
Authors:
Ruth Cowen
Trapeze

The Most Beautiful

Mayte Garcia
Authors:
Mayte Garcia

In The Most Beautiful, a title inspired by the hit song Prince wrote about their legendary love story, Mayte Garcia for the first time shares the deeply personal story of their relationship and offers a singular perspective on the music icon and their world together: from their unconventional meeting backstage at a concert (and the long-distance romance that followed), to their fairy-tale wedding (and their groundbreaking artistic partnership), to the devastating losses that ultimately dissolved their romantic relationship for good. Throughout it all, they shared a bond more intimate than any other in Prince's life. No one else can tell this story or can provide a deeper, more nuanced portrait of Prince--both the famously private man and the pioneering, beloved artist--than Mayte, his partner during some of the most pivotal personal and professional years of his career. The Most Beautiful is a book that will be returned to for decades, as Prince's music lives on with generations to come.

W&N

Jonas Kaufmann

Thomas Voigt
Authors:
Thomas Voigt
Trapeze

See Ya Later

Arron Crascall
Authors:
Arron Crascall
W&N

Being Elvis

Ray Connolly
Authors:
Ray Connolly

What was it like to be Elvis Presley? What did it feel like when impossible fame made him its prisoner? As the world's first rock star there was no one to tell him what to expect, no one with whom he could share the burden of being himself - of being Elvis.On the outside he was all charm, sex appeal, outrageously confident on stage and stunningly gifted in the recording studio. To his fans he seemed to have it all. He was Elvis. With his voice and style influencing succeeding generations of musicians, he should have been free to sing any song he liked, to star in any film he was offered, and to tour in any country he chose. But he wasn't free. The circumstances of his poor beginnings in the American South, which, as he blended gospel music with black rhythm and blues and white country songs, helped him create rock and roll, had left him with a lifelong vulnerability. Made rich and famous beyond his wildest imaginings when he mortgaged his talent to the machinations of his manager, 'Colonel' Tom Parker, there would be an inevitable price to pay. Though he daydreamed of becoming a serious film actor, instead he grew to despise his own movies and many of the songs he had to sing in them. He could have rebelled. But he didn't. Why? In the Seventies, as the hits rolled in again, and millions of fans saw him in a second career as he sang his way across America, he talked of wanting to tour the world. But he never did. What was stopping him?BEING ELVIS takes a clear-eyed look at the most-loved entertainer ever, and finds an unusual boy with a dazzling talent who grew up to change popular culture; a man who sold a billion records and had more hits than any other singer, but who became trapped by his own frailties in the loneliness of fame.

W&N

Paul McCartney

Philip Norman
Authors:
Philip Norman

The first biography written with Paul McCartney's approval and with access to family members and friends closest to him.Superbly evoking half a century of popular music and culture, Paul McCartney is the definitive life of a long-misunderstood genius.In this masterly biography, history's most successful songwriter, a man of seemingly effortless talent, beauty and charm, is revealed as a complex, insecure workaholic who still feels as great a need to prove himself in his seventies as when he was a teenager.We learn how his boyhood was blighted by the death of his mother, Mary - later the inspiration for 'Let It Be' - but redeemed by his remarkable father, Jim, a Liverpool cotton-salesman who was his only music-teacher and whose influence has permeated his career.We understand as never before the creative symbiosis between John Lennon and himself that unlocked the extraordinary treasury of their songs for the Beatles when they were barely into their twenties, and the fierce rivalry which lasted beyond the band's break-up to the end of John's life - and still haunts and inspires Paul to this day.Here for the first time is the full story of Paul post-Beatles: his trauma after being brutally sidelined by John, George and Ringo over the appointment of their last manager, Allen Klein; his near-breakdown on his remote Scottish farm and dogged determination to build a new band, Wings, into as big a name in the 1970s as the Beatles had been in the 1960s.Here too is the first inside story of his marriage to Linda Eastman, much criticised at the outset but destined to become the longest and strongest in rock until her death from cancer. Here are the traumatic post-Linda years when his charmed life seemed temporarily to crack up: his whirlwind romance with Heather Mills ending after four years' marriage in one of the most expensive and rancorous divorces in British legal history. As richly fascinating and dramatic as its subject, Paul McCartney: The Biography is the last word on a man whose music has lit up the world.

W&N

War Paint

Lindy Woodhead
Authors:
Lindy Woodhead
Trapeze

Prince

Mick Wall
Authors:
Mick Wall

Prince was an icon. A man who defined an era of music and changed the shape of popular culture forever. There is no doubt that he was one of the most talented and influential artists of all time, and also one of the most mysterious. On 21st April 2016 the world lost its Prince; it was the day the music died.This book will open a door to Prince's world like never before - from his traumatic childhood and demonic pursuit of music as a means of escape, to his rise to superstardom, professional rivalries and marriages shrouded in tragedy, internationally bestselling music writer Mick Wall explores the historical, cultural and personal backdrop that gave rise to an artist the likes of which the world has never seen - and never will again.Mick, a lifelong Prince fan, was one of the first UK journalists to ever write about this enigmatic star, and it was his story that put Prince on the cover of Kerrang magazine in 1984 and inspired the biggest mailbag of letters the magazine has ever had. As Prince sang in '7', 'no one in the whole universe will ever compare', and this book is a shining tribute to the forever incomparable Prince.

W&N

East West Street

Philippe Sands
Authors:
Philippe Sands

THE BRITISH BOOK AWARDS NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017WINNER OF THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE and THE JQ-WINGATE LITERARY PRIZETHE SUNDAY TIMES TOP 10 BESTSELLER'A monumental achievement: profoundly personal, told with love, anger and great precision' John le Carré'One of the most gripping and powerful books imaginable' SUNDAY TIMESWhen he receives an invitation to deliver a lecture in the Ukrainian city of Lviv, international lawyer Philippe Sands begins a journey on the trail of his family's secret history. In doing so, he uncovers an astonishing series of coincidences that lead him halfway across the world, to the origins of international law at the Nuremberg trial. Interweaving the stories of the two Nuremberg prosecutors (Hersch Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin) who invented the crimes or genocide and crimes against humanity, the Nazi governor responsible for the murder of thousands in and around Lviv (Hans Frank), and incredible acts of wartime bravery, EAST WEST STREET is an unforgettable blend of memoir and historical detective story, and a powerful meditation on the way memory, crime and guilt leave scars across generations.WINNER OF THE HAY FESTIVAL MEDAL FOR PROSE 2017

W&N

Going Off Alarming

Danny Baker
Authors:
Danny Baker
Orion

Maggie Smith

Michael Coveney
Authors:
Michael Coveney

No one does glamour, severity, girlish charm or tight-lipped witticism better than Dame Maggie Smith, one of Britain's best-loved actors. This new biography shines the stage-lights on the life and career of a truly remarkable performer, one whose stage and screen career spans six decades.From her days as a West End star of comedy and revue, Dame Maggie's path would cross with those of the greatest actors, playwrights and directors of the era. Whether stealing scenes from Richard Burton (by his own admission), answering back to Laurence Olivier, or impressing Ingmar Bergman, her career can be seen as a 'Who's Who' of British theatre in the twentieth century. This book also covers the little-known period in Canada, a prolific five-season run of leading roles that took place during the height of her success in Hollywood, soon after she won her first Oscar for her signature film The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.Recently Dame Maggie has been prominent on our screens as ever, with high-profile roles as Violet Crawley, the formidable Dowager Countess of Grantham, in the phenomenally successful television series Downton Abbey, and as Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter film franchise: what she herself describes as 'Miss Jean Brodie in a wizard's hat'. Yet paradoxically she remains an enigmatic figure, rarely appearing in public and carefully guarding her considerable talent. Michael Coveney's absorbing biography, written with the actress's blessing and drawing on personal archives, as well as interviews with immediate family and close friends, is therefore as close as it gets to seeing the real Maggie Smith.Read by Sian Thomas(p) 2015 Orion Publishing Group

W&N

The Audacious Crimes of Colonel Blood

Robert Hutchinson
Authors:
Robert Hutchinson

'THE AUDACIOUS CRIMES OF COLONEL BLOOD is television mini-series material ... the clash of blades, the whizzing bullets and galloping hooves guarantee nonstop adventure.' Jonathan Keates, LITERARY REVIEWOne morning in May 1671, a man disguised as a parson daringly attempted to seize the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London. Astonishingly, he managed to escape with the regalia and crown before being apprehended. And yet he was not executed for treason. Instead, the king granted him a generous income and he became a familiar strutting figure in the royal court's glittering state apartments.This man was Colonel Thomas Blood, a notorious turncoat and fugitive from justice. Nicknamed the 'Father of all Treasons', he had been involved in an attempted coup d'état in Ireland as well as countless plots to assassinate Charles II.In an age when gossip and intrigue ruled the coffee houses, the restored Stuart king decided Blood was more useful to him alive than dead. But while serving as his personal spy, Blood was conspiring with his enemies. At the same time he hired himself out as a freelance agent for those seeking to further their political ambition.In THE AUDACIOUS CRIMES OF COLONEL BLOOD bestselling historian Robert Hutchinson paints a vivid portrait of a double agent bent on ambiguous political and personal motivation, and provides an extraordinary account of the perils and conspiracies that abounded in Restoration England.

Orion

When Giants Walked the Earth

Mick Wall
Authors:
Mick Wall

The final word on the world's greatest rock band, Led Zeppelin.They were 'the last great band of the sixties; the first great band of the seventies'; they rose, somewhat unpromisingly, from the ashes of the Yardbirds to become one of the biggest-selling rock bands of all time. Mick Wall, respected rock writer and former confidant of both Page and Plant, unflinchingly tells the story of the band that wrote the rulebook for on-the-road excess - and eventually paid the price for it, with disaster, drug addiction and death. WHEN GIANTS WALKED THE EARTH reveals for the first time the true extent of band leader Jimmy Page's longstanding interest in the occult, and goes behind the scenes to expose the truth behind their much-hyped yet spectacularly contrived comeback at London's O2 arena last year, and how Jimmy Page plans to bring the band back permanently - if only his former protégé, now part-time nemesis, Robert Plant will allow him to. Wall also recounts, in a series of flashbacks, the life stories of the five individuals that made the dream of Led Zeppelin into an even more incredible and hard-to-swallow reality: Page, Plant, John Paul Jones, John Bonham, and their infamous manager, Peter Grant.The culmination of several years research, this book tells the full, shocking story of Led Zeppelin from the inside, written by someone who has known Jimmy Page for over twenty years.