For all their worthiness, few of Britain's greatest artists - Constable, Gainsborough, Holbein, Hart - have been afforded their own big-screen biopic. But Mike Leigh and his team have found plenty of material in the life of J. M. W. Turner, the son of a wigmaker and a butcher's daughter, a man with who lays claim to being one of the country's finest ever water colourists.
Leigh's latest, currently going by the name Untitled 13, has a first-look image of his old Topsy-Turvy, Secrets & Lies, Life Is Sweet and All Or Nothing mucker Timothy Spall as the painter and printmaker.
He's at sea, which in Turner's case normally spells only one thing: catastrophe! Turner, for those who've
hastily checked the Tate Gallery's website studied his oeuvre as assiduously as we have, was a specialist in shipwrecks, fires and other disasters. He was, in many ways, the Michael Bay of the Romantic movement.
Leigh, currently ushering Untitled 13 through post-production in London, has assembled many of his cadre of collaborators for this one. Vera Drake's Marion Bailey and Paul Jesson, and Topsy-Turvy's Dorothy Atkinson also appear, while his crew is also chockful of old hands, cinematographer Dick Pope, costumer Jacqueline Durran and Oscar winner make-up designer Christine Blundell among them.
Untitled 13 comes courtesy of Leigh's Thin Man Films production house, with support from Film4, Focus Features and the BFI.