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J.M.W. Turner - Peter Ackroyd

This is a pretty light-weight biography aimed at a general readership which fancies learning a bit more about Turner without having to cope with footnotes. This was precisely what I was looking for after seeing Turner the film, just to put the events of the film into the broader biographical context. It's not badly written, although it does that irritating thing of repeating material more than once just in case the reader has forgotten (forgivable in hefty academic tomes, somewhat more infuriating in something of this size). The writing's pretty clear, and there was a reference to a pig which suddenly made the whole pig thing in the film make a lot more sense - or, to be more accurate, explained where it had come from, which is just as satisfying really. Did what it needed to, probably would wind anyone actually familiar with the period up the wall, but easily digestible in a short period of time.

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December 2016

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