Turner and the Scientists by James Hamilton
Published to accompany an exhibition at the Tate Gallery from 3rd March to 21st June 1998, this is an account of J.M.W. Turner's social and artistic life which offers insights into the extent to which 19th-century art and science were intertwined. Turner was gregarious and intellectually curious. Among his friends and acquaintances were some of the leading scientists of the early-19th century, including Humphry Davy, Michael Faraday, Richard Owen and Mary Somerville. The book describes the impact of scientific and technical subjects and ideas on the development of Turner's art from the earliest days, and its extent within his subject matter. It examines the nature and depth of Turner's friendships and associations with scientists, and the influence they had on the direction of his thought. The author presents theories, including assessments of Turner's knowledge of contemporary geological thoughts, and of the impact that research into magnetism had on his art in the 1830s and 1840s. It also looks at the context in which Turner placed his paintings of steamships, and proposes a new reading of their symbolism.