When landscape painting first became popular in Britain in the 18th century, classical-inspired scenes and portraiture were considered the height of fashion. But very soon an uniquely British style of landscape painting began to develop. Initially as a backdrop to portraits of wealthy patrons – and with Gainsborough in the 18th century, followed by Constable and Turner in the early 19th – British landscape painting finally flowered into a world-class genre all of its own. Here are a few stunning representations of our beautiful countryside and coastline – and how they look today.
Sennen Cove by Dame Laura Knight
With her loose, naturalistic style and vigorous brushwork, combined with an acute awareness of light, Laura Knight created some of the most evocative works of art of the 20th century. The first woman elected to full membership of the Royal Academy of Arts, she embraced English impressionism. Her almost luminous landscapes from time spent in Cornwall represent some of her most beautiful work.
Autumn Sunlight, Sennen Cove (1922), with its dizzying viewpoint, is one such example. Today, more houses dot the cliffside, but the sweep of golden beach still entices visitors to enjoy this spectacular stretch of coastline.
Newhaven Harbour by Eric Ravilious
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