John Martin (1789-1854) was born on July 19th 1789, in a one-roomed farm cottage at East Land Ends, Haydon Bridge, Northumberland, thirteenth and youngest child of Fenwick and Isabella. Although the family was living in poverty, John became the first Martin to attend school. The progressive Haydon Bridge Grammar school provided him with free schooling, and his parents with a cheap form of childcare. He showed an early talent for drawing, utilising the schoolroom walls, the doors of the villagers, and the sandbanks of the River Tyne. An apprenticeship as a heraldic painter with a High Friar Street coach builder in Newcastle was his first taste of work before he headed for London, marrying there at the age of nineteen, before having a picture accepted at the Royal Academy and later becoming "Historical Landscape Painter to the Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold”, as well as a noted book illustrator. Like his elder brother William, John was an ‘all-rounder’, devising sewage schemes for London and the Thames and proposals for railway systems, a lighthouse, a floating harbour, and an 'Elastic Iron Ship'. He is most famous, however, as a New Romantic painter and mezzotint engraver, celebrated for his epic and melodramatic scenes of cataclysmic Biblical events crowded with tiny figures placed in vast architectural settings.
He paid Jonathan's legal expenses after the Minster fire and took Jonathan's son Richard into his family. He lived at Lindsey House in Chelsea where William died after spending the last few months of his life there.
John Martin died on the Isle of Man on February 17th 1854.
asleep in a cradle,
a cradle of time.
held in a painting,
held in a frame.
caught on the hills,
wings of the light.
feasting on wonder,
inventor of dreams,
(Words: Keith Armstrong / Tune: 'Felton Lonnen’ - Trad. arr. Ann Sessoms)
from Mad Martins,
releases March 31, 2017
Keith Armstrong - Spoken Word
Ann Sessoms - Northumbrian Pipes
'Mad Martins' is a unique project by poet Keith Armstrong and songwriter Gary Miller featuring original songs, poetry and
spoken word narration depicting the extraordinary life and times of the notorious Martin brothers, William, Jonathan and John, who were born in the late Eighteenth Century in the South Tyne area of Northumberland....more