James Hamilton is an art and cultural historian. His books include Turner: A 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. He was curator of art collections and projects in Portsmouth, Wakefield, Sheffield, Leeds and the University of Birmingham. As a curator Hamilton has organised dozens of art exhibitions since the 1970s and has written book and exhibition reviews for the Spectator, Independent, The Times, Financial Times and the Literary Review. He is currently a Fellow of the Barber Institute at the University of Birmingham and has lectured across the UK, Italy, Hungary, Poland and the USA on Gainsborough, Turner, Faraday, and the culture of eighteenth and nineteenth century Britain, and has contributed to programmes on BBC Radio 3 and 4 and BBC1 on the art of J M W Turner.
Distinguished art historian James Hamilton will offer a fresh look at the revolutionary British landscape painter John Constable. Probably Britain's best-loved but perhaps least understood artist, his paintings reflect visions of landscape that shocked and perplexed his contemporaries: attentive to detail, spontaneous in gesture, and brave in their use of colour. Constable's letters and diaries reveal a complex man of passion, opinion and discord. This talk will explode previous mythologies about this timeless artist, and establish him in his proper context as a giant of European art.