In February and March of 1849, the "Illustrated London News" carried a series of announcements about the works of the painter John Martin being exhibited at the British Institution, the third of which included an account of his early life. On the 17 March the paper received a long letter from the artist, reproduced here in full, in which he demands a right of reply. Their article is, he claims, "so unfortunate a tissue of errors from beginning to end, that it can only have the effect of misleading your readers." Martin's brief autobiography makes fascinating reading. Beginning with his youth in Newcastle where he was apprenticed to a coach-builder, it recounts his initial struggles in London and the eventual recognition accorded to his vast, apocalyptic landscape painting and stunning engravings, ending with the civic works he devoted himself to in later years. The reader is left in awe of Martin's determination and drive.With an introduction by Martin Myrone, Lead Curator of Pre-1800 British Art at Tate Britain, this engaging book provides many new insights into the work of this extraordinary painter of sublime landscapes and the times in which he lived.