on 22 May 2013
When I received the booklet 'John Martin sketches of my life' I got angry and very unhappy. I felt I was had badly. Despite it being a Tate-publication, the 48 page booklet counts only 34 pages of text and drawings (six?!) in a blotchy black and white. The poor printing quality is one thing. If you want to rattle the chain, the seller has conveniently disappeared and tracking info is unavailable. And all this for the tidy sum of £ 4.99, not counting post and postage, so you end up well over six quid.
So what is it all about? The maker of the booklet is Martin Myrone, curator at Tate Britain. When in 1849 the Illustrated London News published an exhibition review discussing the life and work of John martin, the artist got angry and very unhappy. The booklet offers John Martins reactions on the often incorrect publications about him and his work. I expected more insight on the debacle, in text, as well as in use of Martins sketches. The fact that the booklet is sold under the title 'John Martin sketches of my life', doesn't do the artist justice. Neither does the poor printing quality.
The way the booklet is filled is shallow and carefree. An ailing lamb was sold as a highbreed mutton. Tate, Take That!