Earth: Digging Deep In British Art 1781-2022


128 pages / 210 x 210mm
ISBN 978-1-911408-92-5


  • Concluding book of the elements series, following; The Power of the Sea: Making Waves in British Art 1790-2014 (2014), Air: Visualising the Invisible in British Art 1768-2017 (2017) and Fire: Flashes to Ashes in British Art 1692-2019 (2019).
  • Includes four centuries of leading artists from 1700s to present day.
  • Explores how artists’ approaches to landscape have changed over time.
  • Places urgent contemporary issues regarding the climate crisis and earth’s resources in historical context
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For as long as we have walked the earth, it has provided an endless source of inspiration for artists striving to capture nature’s majesty. The British landscape tradition runs so deep it has come to represent our national consciousness at its most idealistic, ‘England’s green and pleasant land’. Earth explores how attitudes towards the landscape have evolved over the centuries; from the pastoral idylls of the eighteenth century, through representations of the Romantic Sublime, to present-day confrontations of the climate emergency and appreciation for the natural world that has grown in the wake of the global pandemic.

Alongside illustrations from over fifty historic and contemporary artists are essays exploring; our dependence on the ‘bountiful earth’ as the ultimate provider through the works of Edward Calvert, Samuel Palmer and Stanley Spencer, by Christiana Payne; landscape as a spiritual, ritual and emotional space, from the perspective of Emma Stibbon, spanning works by artists such as Richard Long and Anya Gallaccio to JMW Turner and Eric Ravilious; and the long tradition of artists’ use of earth as material, from a simple tool to ecological symbolism, by Nathalie Levi.

Earth surveys the representation of our environment across four centuries, inviting us to consider our planet in all its abundance, precarity and preciousness.


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