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J.M.W. Turner, Marriage and Morals

Dr Selby Whittingham

The romantic part of Turner’s life is sometimes today reduced to his interest in sex, manifested in his erotic drawings, which, after once being threatened with destruction on grounds of obscenity, have now fashionably been put on view at Margate alongside the works of Tracey Emin.[1]  Scholarly research has focused on the reactions of Ruskin to them rather than on to what light they shed on Turner’s love life.  Comparatively little interest has been taken in the backgrounds of his family and mistresses. To understand his amorous liaisons one needs also to take account of the other main driving forces of his life – art, money, ambition and public service.

This is the introduction to an extended article on Turner.  Here is the link to it.


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