Mad Martins

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The Martins

Eldest brother, William was the self-styled "Philosophical Conqueror of All Nations". He was a philosopher, doggerel poet, pamphleteer, engraver and inventor. His many inventions included a life preserver, a mechanical horse and a flying machine. Like his younger brothers, he aspired to be ‘Renaissance Man’ and aimed for the "defeat of learned humbugs".

Jonathan Martin has gone down in history as "the notorious incendiary" of York Minster. Frequent fits of rage against the clergy, including an attempt to assassinate the Bishop of Oxford led to his committal to several lunatic asylums, from which he escaped twice, before setting fire to York Minster in 1829, for which he was committed to Bedlam, where he later died.

John, the youngest, was, like his brother William, an ‘all-rounder’, devising sewage schemes for London, along with a number of other inventions but is most famous for his epic New Romantic paintings of Biblical scenes. One of these, 'Pandemonium', based on Milton’s 'End of the World', sold in 2003 for a record £1.65 million.