This book explores the nature of Britain-based artists’ engagement with the transformations of their environment since the early days of the Industrial Revolution.

At a time of pressing ecological concerns, the international group of contributors provide a series of case studies that reconsider the nature–culture divide and aim at identifying the contours of a national narrative that stretches from enclosed lands to rising seas. By adopting a longer historical view, this book hopes to enrich current debates concerning art’s engagement with recording and questioning the impact of human activity on the environment.

The book will be of interest to scholars working in art history, contemporary art, environmental humanities, and British studies.

chapter |23 pages


part 1|62 pages

From the Claude Glass to Drones

chapter 1|16 pages

Vehicles of Truth

Portable Studios and Nineteenth-Century British Landscape Painting, 1856–1885

chapter 2|15 pages

Painting Fog

James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s Blurred Visions of the London Atmosphere

chapter 3|18 pages

Aerial Ontologies

part 2|57 pages

Areas of Outstanding Industrial Beauty?

chapter 5|19 pages

“It’s Grim Up North”

Depicting Mutations and Shifting Perceptions of Industrial Landscapes in the North of England

chapter 6|11 pages

“Our Oil”: Our Waves?

Environment, Energy Transition, and Art in Twenty-First-Century Scotland

chapter 7|17 pages

Managing Arcadia

From the King’s Cross Estate to the Bretton Estate

part 3|91 pages

Decentering Human Vision

chapter 9|19 pages

Pursuing Natural Beauty

The Artist as a Hunter in Eighteenth-Century British Art

chapter 10|16 pages

“A New and Unforeseen Creation”

Turner, English Landscape, and the Anthropo(s)cene

chapter 11|16 pages

The Human Landscape

John Ruskin, Drawing, and Colour

chapter 12|15 pages

A Matter of Time

Transformative Sculptures by Marc Quinn, Zuzanna Janin, Anya Gallaccio, and Andy Goldsworthy

chapter 13|17 pages

Brexit, Gender, and Northern Ireland’s Supernatural Landscape

Ursula Burke’s “A False Dawn” and Candida Powell-Williams’ “Command Lines”

chapter |6 pages