The common field landscape: cultural commemoration and the impact of enclosure, c.1770-1850

Waites, Ian (2010) The common field landscape: cultural commemoration and the impact of enclosure, c.1770-1850. In: The Land Question in Britain 1750-1950. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 19-36. ISBN 9780230203402

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The period of parliamentary enclosure in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries has been viewed by many historians as the critical turning point in the history of the English landscape, its agriculture, and in the lives of those who lived there during this period. Indeed, the historiography of English rural life in the modern period has been dominated by the social and agricultural upheaval and change caused by parliamentary enclosure, dominating the assessments of land ownership and use within a number of related academic fields. Equally, art historians have generally examined paintings of the English landscape and its way of life only in relation to the ideologies of improvement and social change brought about by enclosure. As such, and as the landscape art historian, Michael Rosenthal, has put it, ‘we have tended not to keep an eye on (enclosure’s) antithesis – the common field landscape’. This chapter will readdress this position by exploring how the work of a number of artists and writers, such as William Turner of Oxford and Thomas Miller, continued to deliberately celebrate the common field landscape long after the process of enclosure had virtually wiped it out. It will explore the quite idiosyncratic nature of these visual and literary articulations of the common field landscape, and the deeply felt cultural and psychological motives for producing these in the face of the impact of enclosure.

Keywords:Common land, Landscape painting, English, Parliamentary enclosures, Nostalgia, Digitised
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V214 English History
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V140 Modern History
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V350 History of Art
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Art & Design
Relation typeTarget identifier
ID Code:4048
Deposited On:21 Jun 2011 10:34

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