The Turner Erotica

A Biographical Novel

by Robert J. Begiebing




The Turner Erotica: A Biographical Novel by Robert J. Begiebing.


J. M. W. Turner (1775-1851), the greatest British landscape painter and one of the most revolutionary influences on Western art since the eighteenth century, left upon his death a rich and varied legacy to Britain’s National Gallery, including more than 19,000 sketch studies containing considerable erotica.  When John Ruskin, Turner’s greatest supporter at the time, discovered the erotic works, he, with the help of National Gallery Keeper Ralph Wornum, burned most of the material they found offensive.  The Turner Erotica  follows narrator William James Stillman (the young American artist, Consul to Rome and Crete, friend of Ruskin, and acquaintance of Turner) as he pursues a dangerous quest across Britain, Europe, and New England to discover and save the few remaining studies that through theft and betrayal escaped Ruskin’s outraged fire.  In his quest, Stillman enlists the help of Pre-Raphaelite William Rossetti, the liberated American painter Allegra Fullerton, and Sir Richard Burton (the greatest linguist, swordsman, pistol-shot, and covert agent for the British government in the 19th century).  Stillman’s obsession with the surviving erotic studies arises out of their potential value to British art history and his deep sense that the studies contain a secret clue to the master’s celebrated body of public work.


Rights Information

English language in print and electronic form become avialable in 2018.  Currently (2015) all other rights available.


see author's website:


see author's website:

Author Biography




Author’s Biography

            Robert J. Begiebing is the author of nine books, a play, and many articles and stories.  His books include a trilogy of novels spanning 1648-1850.  His novel Rebecca Wentworth’s Distraction won the Langum Prize for historical fiction.  The Strange Death of Mistress Coffin was chosen as a Main Selection for the Mystery and Literary Guild Book Clubs.  His most recent novel is The Turner Erotica (2013), exploring the mystery of the relationship between the secret and the public lives of J.M.W. Turner.  His memoir, A Berkshire Boyhood, was released in the spring of 2014, and a collection of his journalism The Territory Around Us: Literary and Political Journalism, 1982-2015 will be released in the fall of 2015.  His fiction writing has been supported by grants from the Lila-Wallace Foundation and the New Hampshire Council for the Arts.  In 2007, Governor John Lynch appointed Begiebing to the Council for the Arts.  In 2009 he served both as one of the inaugural faculty members at the Norman Mailer Writers’ Colony and as finalist judge for the Langum Prize.  He is the founding director of the Low-Residency MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction, and Professor of English Emeritus, at Southern NH University.




Bibliographic Information
  • English
  • 9780983300243
  • United States
  • Paperback
  • Primary Price: 15 USD
  • Pages: 265
  • Ilium Press
  • Readership: General
  • Publish State: Published
  • Edition: 2013