The British passion for landscape—already present in the literary works of Milton, Shakespeare, and even Chaucer—began to dominate the visual arts at the time of the Industrial Revolution. In his poem “Jerusalem” (1804), William Blake wrote of both “England’s green and pleasant land” and the “dark satanic mills” of its new industrial cities. Drawn from the remarkable collections of the National Museum Wales, Pastures Green & Dark Satanic Mills: The British Passion for Landscape will offer audiences a rare opportunity to follow the rise of landscape painting in Britain, unfolding a story that runs from the Industrial Revolution through the eras of Romanticism, Impressionism, and Modernism, to the postmodern and post-industrial imagery of today.
Showcasing masterpieces by artists from Constable to Turner, to Monet working in Britain, the exhibition offers new insights into the cultural history of Britain as it became the world’s first industrial nation late in the eighteenth century. Cities—where the nation’s new wealth was generated and its population concentrated—mills, and factories started to challenge country estates and rolling hills as the defining images of the nation, and artists tracked, recorded, and resisted these changes, inaugurating a new era of British landscape painting which both celebrated the land’s natural beauty and a certain idea of Britain while also observing the feverish energies of the modern world. A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition.