Poem: ‘At Sils-Maria’
Vol. 34 No. 10 · 24 May 2012
I am sorry to have piqued T.J. Clark over his misunderstanding of Turner’s so-called Interior at Petworth into such a silly riposte (Letters, 10 May). Because I pointed out recent research into the picture that he has overlooked, he accuses me of philistinism. I didn’t offer an aesthetic appreciation of it, only an explanation of what it actually is in Turner’s creative process; so his comment is uncalled for. As a lifelong curator of British pictures, and particularly of Turner (I published the defamatory Italian cartoon he cites in 1987), I do not think I can be labelled so crudely. No, he has merely reinforced my point: that people who want art history to lead to – and culminate in – modernism, are wilfully indifferent to facts.