This fascinating book provides a picture of the changing state of British landscape studies. Art historians, historians, geographers, and literary scholars discuss a wide range of topics: the role of landscape in the construction of a national identity; tourism and the politics of the picturesque; the relation of scientific observation to naturalistic landscape; and the depiction of rural labor. In so doing, they point up the extent to which scholarship has moved from concerns with individual artists to broader issues of representation and society. The authors challenge a number of orthodoxies in chapters that reconsider the role of women amateurs in landscape painting, recast the notion of John Sell Cotman's genius, explore the imaging of the nation, and examine the development of the history of watercolor painting. With essays by Maxine Berg, Stephen Copley, Stephen Daniels (with Susanne Seymour and Charles Watkins), Elizabeth Helsinger, Andrew Hemingway, Alan Howkins, Charlotte Klonk, Kay Dian Kriz, Anne Pullan, Kim Sloan, Sam Smiles, and the editors, the book is pluralistic in content and multidisciplinary in nature. It not only indicates where matters stand at the moment but suggests directions for future scholarship.
Michael Rosenthal is Senior Lecturer in History of Art at the University of Warwick. Christiana Payne is Senior Lecturer in History of Art at Oxford Brookes University. Scott Wilcox is Associate Curator for Prints and Drawings at the Yale Center for British Art.