To show a foreigner England: Englishness and the Edwardian Landscape


We are pleased to announce that registration is now open for our April 11th symposium, ‘To show a foreigner England: Englishness and the Edwardian Landscape’, organised in association with the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol. Tickets cost a mere £6.00, and include a light lunch. The day will start at 10.30 and run until  4.30. Speakers include Professor David Matless (author of Landscape and Englishness) and Professor Ysanne Holt (author of British Artists and the Modernist Landscape). There will also be an exhibition tour with the curator, Gwen Yarker.

This one-day symposium – coinciding with Inquisitive Eyes: Slade Painters in Edwardian Wessex – takes as its starting point the following quotation from E.M. Forster’s novel Howard’s End (1910),

If one wanted to show a foreigner England, perhaps the wisest course would be to take him to the final section of the Purbeck Hills, and stand him on their summit, a few miles to the east of Corfe. Then system after system of our island would roll together under his feet.

Forster’s comment suggests that the rolling hills of the South West should be taken as a synecdoche for England. Taking a cue from this idea – but expanding the discussion to include other regions also – the symposium will address a range of important questions: where was Englishness located at the turn of the century, and why? What made a landscape especially English, or distinctly not-English? What role did artist’s colonies play in understanding and promoting particular landscapes in the national consciousness? How important was landscape to the development of modern art in England?

If you have any questions, please e-mail us at


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