Spirit of Place

Artists, Writers and the British Landscape


A lyrical, critically acclaimed account of the British landscape in writing and art from Beowulf to now


ISBN: 9780500296356 Category:

Susan Owens


When we look at the landscape, what do we see? Do we experience the view over a valley or dappled sunlight on a path in the same way as those who were there before us? We have altered the countryside in innumerable ways over the last thousand years, and never more so than in the last hundred. How are these changes reflected in – and affected by – art and literature?

Spirit of Place offers a panoramic view of the British landscape as seen through the eyes of writers and artists from Bede and the Gawain-poet to Gainsborough, Austen, W. G. Sebald and Barbara Hepworth. Shaped by these distinctive voices and evocative imagery, Susan Owens describes how the British landscape has been framed, reimagined and reshaped by each generation. Each account or work of art, whether illuminated in a manuscript, jotted down in a journal or constructed from sticks and stones, holds up a mirror to its maker and their world.

With 80 illustrations

Additional information

Weight 467 g
Dimensions 12.9 x 19.7 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 28 October 2021
Number of pages 352
Format Paperback / softback
Dimensions 12.9 x 19.7 cm
Weight 467 g


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Dr Susan Owens is an art historian and exhibition curator who has worked at the Royal Collection and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Her previous books include The Ghost: A Cultural History, described by the Guardian as 'eloquent and lively', and Who Shall Deliver Me? Christina Rossetti: Poetry in Art.