What are the distinctive characteristics of Englishness, and how has the appeal to them changed over the last two hundred years? A large question, which I have so far approached in a rather fragmentary way. More to come…
Agricultural workers’ cottages, Little Wilbraham, Cambridgeshire, 12 September 2007
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Publication of the first images of the set for Danny Boyle’s opening extravaganza for the Olympics prompted me to write this article for Our Kingdom, published on 22 June 2012.
Art historian, wild mushroom hunter, curator, bee-keeper, independent film-maker – a few otherwise lost words about Timothy Neat: »October 22nd, 2011 | Posted in: Articles General, Englishness and British national identity, Heritage & History, Music
I spent part of last summer writing a long review of Timothy Neat’s two volume biography of Hamish Henderson, the poet and campaigner who made such a profound contribution to the Scottish folk revival in the 1950s and 1960s. The review appears in the London Review of Books, issue dated 3 November 2011.
‘On 1 October 1954, Sir Hugh Casson, the urbane professor of interior design who had been director of architecture at the Festival of Britain, found himself standing by the Tiananmen Gate in the ancient and still walled city of Peking…’ An article in the Guardian Review.
A review published in Architecture Today (212, October 2010, p. 6).
Over the last three or so years, I’ve been involved in a collaborative project funded as part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s ‘Landscape and Environment’ programme, and based at the Royal College of Art in London…
I’ve been reading a lot about China recently, which is how I came upon a characteristically rambling volume by Osbert Sitwell, entitled Escape with Me! An Oriental Sketch-Book. He opens this account of his pre-war travels in Cambodia and China by remembering how, as a child, he used to visit his paternal grandmother in her ‘large, honey-coloured’ mansion in Surrey…
‘What perspectives do the British bring to bear when they think of China? And how much of that distant land, once known as legendary Cathay, do they actually see, beyond their own prejudices…?’
Over the years many people have tried to list the essential characteristics of Englishness, but what about the sense of threat and danger that so often serves to frame such lists? I wrote this article for Made in England, a website based on a collaboration between the BBC and Arts Council England and launched on 23 April 2008
‘Mr. Money-Coutts evidently belongs to the “keep a bullet for the woman” school, and has no doubt shot his way out of many a tight corner among the savage nomads of Hertfordshire…’
A correspondence from The Times, London, 20 November – 2 December, 1935.
‘Television producers sometimes speak of the ‘golden hour’ – that time in the late afternoon, when the sinking sun casts even routine landscapes into brilliant relief. But the early twentieth century photographers who interest Hauser had a different interest in such tricks of the light…’
About Kitty Hauser’s book Shadow Sites: Photography, Archaeology & the British Landscape 1927-1955, Oxford University Press, £65. This is the ‘pre-print version of a review published in the journal Twentieth Century British History.