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Item Number: 146194
Title: Silent Witnesses: Trees in British Art, 1760-1870
Author: Payne, Christiana
Record created on 07/10/17
Description: Bristol: Sansom, 2017. 27cm., pbk., 192pp. illus., most in color.
Summary: In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, naturalists, poets and artists were united in their love of trees. William Gilpin began his influential Remarks on Forest Scenery (1791) with the bold statement that ‘It is no exaggerated praise to call a tree the grandest, and most beautiful of all the productions of the earth.’ Illustrated books and tree portraits celebrated the beauty, antiquity and diversity of individual, and particularly ancient specimens. A wide range of drawing manuals showed artists and amateurs how to express their ‘character’ and ‘anatomy’, as if they were human subjects. Paintings of woodland scenes provided welcome relief from city life, and studies of exotic trees reflected the growth of tourism and empire. The arrival of new species from all over the world aroused much excitement and scientific activity. At the same time, the native trees – oak, ash, beech, elm – acquired new resonance as emblems of the rural countryside. Many of Britain’s most important landscape painters, including Paul Sandby, John Constable, Samuel Palmer, Edward Lear, and the Pre-Raphaelites, made themselves experts in the drawing and painting of trees.
Contents: The Tree in the Landscape and in the Imagination, 1760-1870 ; The Tree in Patrician Culture, 1760-1800 ; Woodland Anatomy - The Drawing of Trees ; 'Idolatry with Some Excuse' - Portraits of Remarkable Trees ; The Pleasures of the Woods ; Exotic Trees - A Taste of Paradise ; John Ruskin and the Pre-Raphaelite Tree, 1840-1870.
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