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Book Review – Unquiet Landscape – Christopher Neve

Christopher Neve’s timeless book is a voyage into the imagination through the English landscape. How is it that artists, by thinking in paint, have come to view the landscape as symbolizing states of mind?

‘Painting’, says Neve, ‘is a process of finding out, and landscape can be its thesis.’ What he is writing is not quite art history: it is about images, about landscape and about thought. Over the years, he was able to have discussions with many of the thirty or so artists he focused on, the motivation for the book having come from his talks with Ben Nicholson; and he has engrossed himself in their work, their countryside, their concepts. Because he is a painter himself, and an expert on 20th-century art, Neve is well outfitted for such a journey. Few writers have expressed more clearly the mixture of motives, emotions, unconscious influences and contradictions which conclude in the creative act of painting.

Each of the thirteen chapters has a topic and explores its importance for one or more of the artists. There are also chapters about painters’ ideas on certain types of country: about Eric Ravilious and the chalk landscape, Joan Eardley and the sea, and Cedric Morris and the garden.

“A fascinating, considered and evocative work.” – The Critic

Available online and in stores

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