Books

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Wolf Hall but with pics,…This life of Hans Holbein is a great, thrusting codpiece of a book.  I take my feathered cap off to Moyle and her publishers. This is a triumph of book-making as well as biography. This sumptuous book is a jewel in its own right

Laura Freeman, The Times

The King’s Painter, The Life and Times of Hans Holbein.

Hans Holbein the Younger immortalized the Tudor Court of Henry VIII with his astonishing portraits of the King and his entourage.  No other artist can capture the essence of a person quite like Holbein, and you get the sense that if you stare hard enough, one of his portraits might just breathe or blink. In tracing the story of the man behind these extraordinary works, I found a terrific tale of life in a turbulent  Europe, and a febrile and dangerous court, in the first half of the sixteenth century.

Evokes the painter and his world as vividly as a Holbein masterpiece. Beautifully written and illustrated, this book is a must for lovers of Tudor history

Tracy Borman

Full of insight ... This is a gorgeous book, to which I am sure I shall return again and again'

Dan Jones

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Moyle's superb biography rigorously tackles the myths surrounding Turner's life and presents a vivid portrait of a man whose ideas and behaviour were rooted in the 18th century - and whose work is too often taken out of context

Mail on Sunday

Fresh and lively ... Turner's life is given a vivid colour and depth as Moyle deftly interweaves his professional career with his private life. Moyle writes with sensitivity about individual pictures and series, and is good at explaining the context

Jenny Uglow , BBC History Magazine 
 

The Extraordinary Life and Times of J M W Turner

JMW Turner was born a Georgian and died a Victorian. Arguably Britain’s greatest painter, he was a controversial character in his day.Turner witnessed Britain as it transformed from a rural economy into a modern industrial nation. A passionate traveler he was an early tourist in Europe. I have tried to get beneath the skin of this fascinating artist and the times in which he lived. 

An exemplary work... Moyle explores the whole of his long life, expertly charting the artist's development from his precocious conquering of the Royal Academy to his late, experimental paintings.
Moyle is especially good at delineating Turner's artistic methods and her enthralling account is filled with an impressive understanding of his unique talent

Ian Critchley, Sunday Times

A thorough, balanced and wonderfully fluent account. Franny Moyle [is] one of the best in the long line of [Turner's] biographers

Michael Prodger, Times 
 

It is hard, on one level, to believe his sublime canvases ... come with a character attached at all. But Moyle tells the human story well in a book of rigorous scholarship and beauty.She offers an earthy, warts-and-all depiction of the Romantic master JMW Turner that is shaped by the dogged realism of a low-born man who had an exceptional artistic vision.This is well written and meticulously researched. All we once had left of Turner were his paintings, now we have another vibrant biography to commemorate his art, and where it took us.

Lorraine Courtenay , Irish Independent 

 

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Constance: The tragic and scandalous life of Mrs Oscar Wilde

Everyone seems to know something about Oscar Wilde. Less so his wife. Today Oscar is the gay icon whose career was ruined when his homosexuality was exposed. Few know how his wife was also pilloried and forced into exile. In this book I looked at the story of Mr and Mrs Wilde through the lens of their own times, revealing how society indulged them as a celebrity couple. I reclaim Constance from semi-obscurity to reveal a forward thinking woman, at the forefront of women’s rights,  trying to make a difference for her sex in Victorian England. Her own tragedy unfurls alongside that of her doomed husband.

"Moyle is at her best in describing the tragic final years. Constance, often presented as a hard and unforgiving woman, is more convincingly portrayed here as a valiant wife. She visited Wilde in prison. She paid his expenses when he left it. She planned, as he did, for a reunion. When Bosie ("that dreadful person") resurfaced with more appetising invitations, Constance accused Wilde only of being "weak as water". She was among the first to praise The Ballad of Reading Gaol". ..Moyle's account, the first to draw on more than 300 of Constance's unpublished letters, is delightful, sad, and entirely convincing; her last chapters reduced this hardened reader to tears."

Miranda Seymour – The Guardian

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Desperate Romantics

Desperate Romantics. The complex interwoven relationships of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the women who sat to them provides an enthralling study of a group of revolutionaries whose vision is ultimately undermined by their own human weaknesses.

"Desperate Romantics is a gripping read and far more than a historical biography. It's like reading a modern-day soap opera. Franny Moyle writes as if she'd been transported from 1848 to the present day to report on their fascinating lives."

Clare Nasir, Now

"Particularly impressive is the way Moyle returns to a key moment...at various points to consider it from different angles...it will remind you of how all those wild young men and marginal girls fitted together in a nexus of mutual need and exploitation...it's got television written all over it, and in a good way, too."

Guardian

 

"Riveting . . . Moyle captures vividly the texture and colour of this vital world."

Independent on Sunday

"Solidly researched book ... Desperate Romantics is a cleanly written and evocative work that concentrates not only on the PRB as a group, but as individual geniuses."

Sunday Herald Magazine 

 

"The jauntiness of her approach is a refreshing antidote to the incestuous, dreamlike claustrophobia of these interlocking lives. Her book is powerful, absorbing and, well, rather jolly."

Sunday Times

"This has been well-covered before but she retells it with exceptional vigour and with fine detail culled from original sources."

Daily Express

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