• 30 November to 1 December 2017
  • This international conference, is the third in an annual series organised collaboratively by the Paul Mellon Centre, the Yale Center for British Art, and the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
  • Location: The Building Centre, 26 Store St, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BT

The pictorial representation of the landscape has long played an important role in the history of British art. It has been central to writers from Gilpin and Ruskin onwards, and was the subject of sustained scholarly attention in the 1980s and 1990s with the emergence of a social history of art. Writers such as John Barrell, Anne Bermingham, Stephen Daniels, Christiana Payne, Michael Rosenthal and David Solkin not only helped transform interpretations of British landscape painting, but made the study of such imagery seem essential to a proper understanding of British art itself.

Over the past two decades the centre of gravity of British art studies has shifted. An imperial turn has characterized some of the most ambitious scholarship in the field; a raft of powerful new voices have shifted attention to the Victorian and modern periods, and to the imagery of urban life; and there has been a dramatic growth of interest in such topics as print culture, exhibition culture, and the material culture of the work of art. With these developments, existing approaches to the study of landscape pictures lost some of their urgency and relevance.

However, this same period has seen the growth of a broader interest in landscape images in adjacent disciplines, driven in part by political and environmental imperatives. A newly energised category of ‘nature writing’, associated with authors such as Robert Mcfarlane and Helen MacDonald, has gained widespread currency beyond the purely academic arena. Cultural geographers such as David Matless and film-makers such as Patrick Keillor have offered nuanced investigations of the British landscape in their work, asking us to think afresh about its relationship to national identity, memory and post-imperial decline. And while many scholars in the humanities, in an age of globalisation and deepening ecological concern, have felt compelled to think about landscape on a vastly expanded basis, others have been driven to offer a new and suggestive focus on the local.

The moment thus seems ripe for a major art-historical reassessment of the image of the British landscape, taking account these and other emergent concerns. This international conference, the third in an annual series organised collaboratively by the Paul Mellon Centre, the Yale Center for British Art, and the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botcanical Gardens, is designed to offer an opportunity for such a reassessment.

Tickets

£20 : Concession Rate (Students & 60 +) for 30 Nov & 1 Dec

(ID is required on the day)

£35 : Standard Rate for 30 Nov & 1 Dec

NB: We are not selling tickets to individual days.

Image credit: [Spreading Oak with Seated Figure], Unknown (British) 1850s. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Hans P. Kraus Jr., 2007

Programme