James Hamilton - Gainsborough - Orion Publishing Group

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • Hardback £25.00
    More information
    • ISBN:9781474600521
    • Publication date:10 Aug 2017

Gainsborough

A Portrait

By James Hamilton

  • E-Book
  • £P.O.R.

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 (1727-88) 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, FARADAY: THE 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: 9781474600538
  • Publication date: 10 Aug 2017
  • Page count:
  • 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 — 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 weeps, 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
A fine and empathetic portrait [of] a man who was as lively as his brushwork — Michael Prodger, RA Magazine
Orion

Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Rebecca Front
Authors:
Rebecca Front
Gollancz

Terry Pratchett's Discworld Imaginarium

Paul Kidby
Authors:
Paul Kidby

LIMITED SPECIAL EDITION ALSO AVAILABLE * * * * * * *A stunning portfolio of Discworld illustrations from the brush of Paul Kidby, Sir Terry Pratchett's artist of choice.Paul Kidby, Sir Terry Pratchett's artist of choice, provided the illustrations for The Last Hero, designed the covers for the Discworld novels since 2002, and is the author of the bestselling The Art Of Discworld. Now, Paul Kidby has collected the very best of his Discworld illustrations in this definitive volume, including 40 pieces never before seen, 30 pieces that have only appeared in foreign editions, limited editions and BCA editions, and 17 book cover illustrations since 2004 that have never been seen without cover text.If Terry Pratchett's pen gave his characters life, Paul Kidby's brush allowed them to live it, and nowhere is that better illustrated than in this magnificent book. For fans old and new, this beautiful collectors item is the perfect gift for Christmas.'The closest anyone's got to how I see the characters' - Sir Terry Pratchett

Orion

See Ya Later

Arron Crascall
Authors:
Arron Crascall
W&N

No Room for Small Dreams

Shimon Peres
Authors:
Shimon Peres
Orion

Perception

Terri Fleming
Authors:
Terri Fleming
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

The John Lennon Letters

John Lennon, Hunter Davies
Authors:
John Lennon, Hunter Davies

A lifetime of letters, collected for the first time, from the legendary The Beatles musician and songwriter John LennonJohn Lennon is one of the world's greatest-ever song writers, creator of 'Help!', 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds', 'Imagine' and dozens more. Now, his letters have been collected and published, illuminating as never before the intimate side of a private genius.Hunter Davies, author of the only authorised biography of The Beatles, has tracked down almost three hundred of Lennon's letters and postcards - to relations, friends, fans, strangers, lovers and even to the laundry. Some of the letters are tender, informative, funny, angry and abusive, and some are simply heart-breaking - from his earliest surviving thank-you note, written when he was ten, to his last scribbled autograph given on 8 December 1980, the day he was shot, aged forty.

W&N

Maggie Smith

Michael Coveney
Authors:
Michael Coveney

'Coveney is the only writer who could get under Smith's skin, capturing her steeliness and vulnerability' INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAYFrom her days as a star of West End comedy and revue, Dame Maggie's path has led to international renown and numerous accolades including two Academy Awards. Recently she has been as prominent on our screens as ever, with high-profile roles as the formidable Dowager Countess of Grantham in DOWNTON ABBEY, as Professor Minerva McGonagall in the HARRY POTTER movie franchise and as the eccentric Miss Shepherd in the film version of THE LADY IN THE VAN by Alan Bennett. Paradoxically she remains an enigmatic figure, rarely appearing in public and carefully guarding her considerable talent. Drawing on personal archives, interviews and encounters with the actress, as well as conversations with immediate family and dear friends, Michael Coveney's biography is a captivating portrait of the real Maggie Smith.

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.

Orion

Wedlock

Wendy Moore
Authors:
Wendy Moore

WEDLOCK is the remarkable story of the Countess of Strathmore and her marriage to Andrew Robinson Stoney. Mary Eleanor Bowes was one of Britain's richest young heiresses. She married the Count of Strathmore who died young, and pregnant with her lover's child, Mary became engaged to George Gray. Then in swooped Andrew Robinson Stoney. Mary was bowled over and married him within the week.But nothing was as it seemed. Stoney was broke, and his pursuit of the wealthy Countess a calculated ploy. Once married to Mary, he embarked on years of ill treatment, seizing her lands, beating her, terrorising servants, introducing prostitutes to the family home, kidnapping his own sister. But finally after many years, a servant helped Mary to escape. She began a high-profile divorce case that was the scandal of the day and was successful. But then Andrew kidnapped her and undertook a week-long rampage of terror and cruelty until the law finally caught up with him.Read by Rachel Atkins(p) 2015 Orion Publishing Group

W&N

Going to Sea in a Sieve

Danny Baker
Authors:
Danny Baker
W&N

The Audacious Crimes of Colonel Blood

Robert Hutchinson
Authors:
Robert Hutchinson
Orion

The Misbegotten

Katherine Webb
Authors:
Katherine Webb

A powerful and absorbing mystery from the Sunday Times Top Ten bestselling author of THE LEGACY.Bath, 1821. When Rachel Crofton marries, her new life soon takes a more unexpected turn as she is invited to become the companion to the reclusive Jonathan Alleyn, a man tormented by the disappearance of his childhood sweetheart, Alice.Starling, servant to the Alleyn family, is convinced that Alice, the woman she loved as a sister, was stolen from her. Did Alice run away? Or did something more sinister occur? As Rachel and Starling try to expose the lies, they find others are desperate to forget, and will go to extreme lengths to do so. . .Your favourite authors love Katherine Webb's sweeping historical dramas: 'An enormously talented writer' Santa Montefiore 'Webb have a true gift for uncovering the mysteries of the human heart and exploring the truth of love' Kate Williams 'Katherine Webb's writing is beautiful' Elizabeth Fremantle 'A truly gifted writer of historical fiction' Lucinda Riley 'Katherine's writing is rich, vivid and evocative' Iona Grey

Orion

Johnny Cash

Robert Hilburn
Authors:
Robert Hilburn

People don't just listen to Johnny Cash: they believe in him. But no one has told the Man in Black's full story, until now.In Johnny Cash: The Life, Robert Hilburn conveys the unvarnished truth about a musical icon, whose colourful career stretched from his days at Sun Records with Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis to his remarkable, brave and deeply moving 'Hurt' video, aged sixty-nine. As music critic for the Los Angeles Times, Hilburn knew Cash well throughout his life: he was the only music journalist at the legendary Folsom Prison concert in 1968, and he interviewed Cash and his wife June Carter for the final time just months before their deaths in 2003. Hilburn's rich reporting shows the remarkable highs and deep lows that followed and haunted Cash in equal measure. A man of great faith and humbling addiction, Cash aimed for more than another hit for the jukebox; he wanted his music to lift people's spirits.Drawing upon his personal experience with Cash and a trove of never-before-seen material from the singer's inner circle, Hilburn creates an utterly compelling, deeply human portrait of one of the most iconic figures in modern popular culture - not only a towering figure in country music, but also a seminal influence in rock, whose personal life was far more troubled, and whose musical and lyrical artistry much more profound, than even his most devoted fans ever realised.Read by Charles Pittard(p) 2013 Hachette Audio

W&N

The KLF

John Higgs
Authors:
John Higgs

'By far the best book this year, brilliant, discursive and wise' BEN GOLDACRE. The strange tale of the death, life and legacy of the hugely successful band.They were the bestselling singles band in the world. They had awards, credibility, commercial success and creative freedom. Then they deleted their records, erased themselves from musical history and burnt their last million pounds in a boathouse on the Isle of Jura. And they couldn't say why.This is not just the story of The KLF. It is a book about Carl Jung, Alan Moore, Robert Anton Wilson, Ken Campbell, Dada, Situationism, Discordianism, magic, chaos, punk, rave, the alchemical symbolism of Doctor Who and the special power of the number 23.Wildly unauthorised and unlike any other music biography, THE KLF is a trawl through chaos on the trail of a beautiful, accidental mythology.Read by John Higgs(p) Orion Publishing Group 2018

Orion

Perilous Question

Antonia Fraser
Authors:
Antonia Fraser

Internationally bestselling historian Antonia Fraser's new book brilliantly evokes one year of pre-Victorian political and social history - the passing of the Great Reform Bill of 1832. For our inconclusive times, there is an attractive resonance with 1832, with its "rotten boroughs" of Old Sarum and the disappearing village of Dunwich, and its lines of most resistance to reform. This book is character-driven - on the one hand, the reforming heroes are the Whig aristocrats Lord Grey, Lord Althorp and Lord John Russell, and the Irish orator Daniel O'Connell. They included members of the richest and most landed Cabinet in history, yet they were determined to bring liberty, which whittled away their own power, to the country. The all-too-conservative opposition comprised Lord Londonderry, the Duke of Wellington, the intransigent Duchess of Kent and the consort of the Tory King William IV, Queen Adelaide. Finally, there were "revolutionaries" and reformers, like William Cobbett, the author of "Rural Rides".This is a book that features one eventful year, much of it violent. There were riots in Bristol, Manchester and Nottingham, and wider themes of Irish and "negro emancipation" underscore the narrative. The time-span of the book is from Wellington's intractable declaration in November 1830 that 'The beginning of reform is the beginning of revolution', to 7th June 1832, the date of the extremely reluctant royal assent by William IV to the Great Reform Bill, under the double threat of the creation of 60 new peers in the House of Lords and the threat of revolution throughout the country. These events led to a total change in the way Britain was governed, a two-year revolution that Antonia Fraser brings to vivid dramatic life.Read by Sean Barrett. Sean Barrett has narrated many television documentaries for the BBC and Discovery Channel, notably THE PEOPLE'S CENTURY, WALKING WITH BEASTS, and GREAT LIVES. As a member of the BBC Radio Rep, he has appeared in hundreds of radio plays, and played Father Gillespie in the BBC Worldservice / BBC7 serial WESTWAY throughout its eight year-run. As a film and television actor he has appeared in pieces as diverse as TWELFTH NIGHT and FATHER TED, and he is a doyen of audiobook reading, with acclaimed recordings of authors ranging from Chaucer to Beckett and in 2012 recorded Antony Beevor's THE SECOND WORLD WAR.(p) 2013 Orion Publishing Group

Orion

A Spectacle of Dust

Pete Postlethwaite
Authors:
Pete Postlethwaite
W&N

Life

Keith Richards
Authors:
Keith Richards

Once-in-a-generation memoir of a rock legend - the No. 1 SUNDAY TIMES bestseller.With the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards created the riffs, the lyrics and the songs that roused the world, and over four decades he lived the original rock and roll life: taking the chances he wanted, speaking his mind, and making it all work in a way that no one before him had ever done.Now, at last, the man himself tells us the story of life in the crossfire hurricane. And what a life. Listening obsessively to Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters records as a child in post-war Kent. Learning guitar and forming a band with Mick Jagger and Brian Jones. The Rolling Stones' first fame and success as a bad-boy band. The notorious Redlands drug bust and subsequent series of confrontations with a nervous establishment that led to his enduring image as outlaw and folk hero. Creating immortal riffs such as the ones in 'Jumping Jack Flash' and 'Street Fighting Man' and 'Honky Tonk Women'. Falling in love with Anita Pallenberg and the death of Brian Jones. Tax exile in France, wildfire tours of the US, 'Exile on Main Street' and 'Some Girls'. Ever increasing fame, isolation and addiction. Falling in love with Patti Hansen. Estrangement from Mick Jagger and subsequent reconciliation. Solo albums and performances with his band the Xpensive Winos. Marriage, family and the road that goes on for ever. In a voice that is uniquely and intimately his own, with the disarming honesty that has always been his trademark, Keith Richards brings us the essential life story of our times.

W&N

Relish

Ruth Cowen
Authors:
Ruth Cowen
Orion

And Furthermore

Judi Dench
Authors:
Judi Dench

From the moment Judi Dench appeared as a teenager in the York Mystery Plays it was clear that acting would be her career. Trained at London's Central School of Speech and Drama it was her performance in her twenties as Juliet in Franco Zeffirelli's memorable Old Vic production that turned her into a star. In the theatre since she has played every classic role from Titania to Cleopatra. She first became a household name via television, thanks initially to a sitcom, A FINE ROMANCE, in which she played alongside the actor Michael Williams, whom she married in 1971. She has since made nine series of another sitcom, AS TIME GOES BY (with Geoffrey Palmer), as well as plays and classic serials such as CRANFORD. In the cinema her films have ranged from LADIES IN LAVENDER (opposite Maggie Smith) through NOTES ON A SCANDAL with Cate Blanchett to SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, in which she played Queen Elizabeth, a role which gained her a Hollywood Oscar. But it is her role as 'M' in seven James Bond films that has gained her worldwide recognition. This book is, however, much more than a career record. Her marriage to Michael Williams, their daughter, and her impish sense of humour contribute vividly to her account of more than half a century as Britain's best-loved actress.Read by Samantha Bond(p) 2010 Orion Publishing Group