The English landscape, modernity and the rural scene 1890-1914

Holt, Ysanne (1998) The English landscape, modernity and the rural scene 1890-1914. Doctoral thesis, University of Northumbria at Newcastle.

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This thesis is concerned with artists' representations of the English landscape and rural scenery from the last decade of the nineteenth century up to the outbreak of
war in 1914. While isolated aspects of the period in relation to landscape painting have been explored in the form of individual monographs and exhibition catalogues,
there have been no overall studies. Equally there has been no sustained attempt to examine the close interconnections between depictions of the rural, and experiences of modernity and the urban that characterise these years. As a result there has been no opportunity to explore the different and complex ways in which ideals of Englishness were negotiated over time amongst a diverse group of painters. This thesis is a contribution to a debate which has emerged in other disciplines and in work within other art historical periods, an investigation of the role of paintings, their public reception and critical interpretation, in the context of the contemporary production and reinforcement of ideas about race, national identity and the construction of native traditions. The paintings discussed here of Stott, Clausen, Steer, John, Knight, Tuke, Gore, Spencer and Nash have all been selected because in different ways, they exemplify the diverse strands of the debate about Englishness around turn of the century.
In order to engage properly with the broader effects of these representations, this thesis explores related areas of enquiry about the significance of ruralism and the countryside, as they have emerged in social and rural history, cultural studies, as well as current investigations in the fields of cultural geography and the study of tourism. These areas establish the centrality of ideas about the rural as a focus for unity and order, and as a site upon which imaginative solutions to the problems of modernity could be developed, in ways that have been left out of art historical accounts of the period as a whole. A fundamental aim here is the study of the cumulative effects, by 1914, of a consistent commodification of the countryside and of its populations by and for urban spectators.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis digitised by the British Library e-thesis online service, EThOS.
Subjects: W100 Fine Art
Department: University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2019 15:21
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2023 15:10

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