'Extensive fields of our forefathers': some prospect drawings of common fields in Northamptonshire by Peter Tillemans, c. 1719-21

Waites, Ian (2011) 'Extensive fields of our forefathers': some prospect drawings of common fields in Northamptonshire by Peter Tillemans, c. 1719-21. Midland History, 36 (1). pp. 42-68. ISSN 0027-7738

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Full text URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/004772911X12956221816240

Abstract

This article presents a number of prospect drawings of various parts of Northamptonshire, made by the Flemish artist, Peter Tillemans, between 1719 and 1721. These views provide the rural historian with what are probably the earliest artistic representations of the unenclosed landscape in England and a unique visual reference to Northamptonshire’s open fields and commons just before the parliamentary enclosure movement began. The article will examine these views to demonstrate first of all how the prospect compositional style was suited to the artistic treatment of Northamptonshire’s open fields and commons, and to show that this landscape was more varied and not as bleak as later pro-enclosure commentators would have it. It will also be demonstrated how some views appear to suggest that common land continued to play an accepted part in the county’s economic and cultural development at this time, while others clearly give an indication of incipient and inevitable change in the landscape as the century progressed.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Northamptonshire, Landscape Painting, Prospect, Tillemans, Eighteenth Century, Enclosure., Commonland
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V350 History of Art
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V210 British History
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Art & Design
ID Code:4537
Deposited By: Ian Waites
Deposited On:21 Jun 2011 11:53
Last Modified:28 Aug 2014 09:27

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