Exhibition | Pastures Green & Dark Satanic Mills

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on February 14, 2016


Thomas Jones, The Bard, 1774, oil on canvas, 14.5 x 168 cm
(Amgueddfa Cymru–National Museum, NMW A85)

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From the Princeton University Art Museum:

Pastures Green & Dark Satanic Mills: The British Passion for Landscape
Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, 23 December 2014 — 5 April 2015
Frick Art and Historical Center, Pittsburgh, 7 May — 2 August 2015
Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, 27 August — 13 December 2015
Princeton University Art Museum, 23 January — 24 April 2016

Organized by the American Federation of Arts and Amgueddfa Cymru–National Museum Wales

The British passion for landscape—already present in the literary works of Milton, Shakespeare, and even Chaucer—began to dominate the visual arts at the time of the Industrial Revolution. In his poem “Jerusalem” (1804), William Blake wrote of both “England’s green and pleasant land” and the “dark satanic mills” of its new industrial cities. Drawn from the remarkable collections of the National Museum Wales, Pastures Green & Dark Satanic Mills: The British Passion for Landscape will offer audiences a rare opportunity to follow the rise of landscape painting in Britain, unfolding a story that runs from the Industrial Revolution through the eras of Romanticism, Impressionism, and Modernism, to the postmodern and post-industrial imagery of today.

Showcasing masterpieces by artists from Constable to Turner, to Monet working in Britain, the exhibition offers new insights into the cultural history of Britain as it became the world’s first industrial nation late in the eighteenth century. Cities—where the nation’s new wealth was generated and its population concentrated—mills, and factories started to challenge country estates and rolling hills as the defining images of the nation, and artists tracked, recorded, and resisted these changes, inaugurating a new era of British landscape painting which both celebrated the land’s natural beauty and a certain idea of Britain while also observing the feverish energies of the modern world.

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The catalogue is published by Giles:

Tim Barringer and Oliver Fairclough, Pastures Green & Dark Satanic Mills: The British Passion for Landscape (London: Giles, 2014), 232 pages, ISBN: 978-1907804342, £40 / $60.

9781907804342Pastures Green & Dark Satanic Mills recounts the story of British landscape painting from the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century to the present day. Examining 88 paintings from the National Museum of Wales, this volume traces the history of landscape art through romanticism, impressionism and modernism right up to the postindustrial imagery of the 21st century.

The book presents two major essays: one by Tim Barringer on the tradition of British landscape painting and its position within an increasingly industrialized society, the other by Oliver Fairclough on the significance of the Welsh landscape within the British tradition. Loosely chronological and divided into six thematic sections, this new volume demonstrates the strong continuity between the British art of today and that of over 250 years ago: contemporary works, such as conceptual artist Richard Long’s photo pieces based on hiking in the Welsh mountains echo the poetics of place as deeply as Richard Wilson’s landscapes of the 1740s.

Tim Barringer is Paul Mellon Professor of the History of Art, Yale University. His recent publications include Edwardian Opulence: British Art at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century (2013), Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Art and Design (2013) and Landscape, Innovation, and Nostalgia: The Manton Collection of British Art (2012). Oliver Fairclough is Keeper of Art, National Museum of Wales, and the author of A Companion Guide to the Welsh National Museum of Art (2011) and Turner to Cezanne: Masterpieces from the Davies Collection (2009).


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