JMW Turner and Petworth House, England.February 5, 2016
San Juan del Sur, NicaraguaFebruary 15, 2016
George O’Brien Wyndham, the 3rd Earl of Egremont (1751-1837) was among other things, one of Joseph Mallord William Turner’s greatest collectors and benefactors as well as being the father of about 40 illegitimate children and the possessor of innumerous mistresses!! Turner, perhaps the foremost landscape painter in English artistic history, spent many weeks at Petworth House, one of the great homes of Egremont and while there, sketched and painted the landscape as well as the many inhabitants of that great house and it’s many visitors to the Earl’s parties and gatherings of friends. Turner (1775-1851) was the subject of the well received 2015 film, Mr. Turner by the director Mike Leigh and starring the perfectly cast Timothy Spall as the enigmatic Turner. It was that movie that prompted me to visit Petworth because the move depicts the rather crusty Turner being moved be a beautifully sung and played song during one of his visits to Petworth House and also depicts Turner’s visits and painting there. I have also recently read and highly recommend the 1997 biography of Turner by James Hamilton, recently reprinted in a 2007 Random House paperback edition. If there is a failing of the Hamilton biography it is the description of many of Turner’s famous and not so famous paintings but without any photographs for the uninitiated to compare to the descriptions. A small collection of photographs which include self portraits of Turner as well as portraits of him and family members does however give one a fair idea of Turner’s magnificent and ground breaking painting styles. The attached photos show a limited view of the expansive grounds of Petworth House which however can only really be appreciated by visiting the place, which I was fortunate enough to do on a perfect and sunny day in September of 2015. I chose to only include one photograph of a painting of Turner’s because, in the absence of a professional photographer with appropriate time and set up, it is impossible to convey the beauty of Turner’s colors which are such an important part of his art. Assisted by Debi Hill of Classic British Drama Tours, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Petworth House and the town of Petworth in West Sussex England and I would very much enjoy a return visit with more emphasis on not only Turner but the many other master artists and sculptors whose works reside in Petworth House.