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David Gentleman's new book records in words and pictures his observations gathered over 35 years of inhabiting a 16th century end-of-terrace house on the edge of a small rural village in mid-Suffolk. It has provided a place where he could paint, surrounded by fields and woodland, next to a small stream, and where his wife, children and grandchildren could relish both rural and coastal life away from the city.
In the Country is an intimate portrait of a time and place observed by a masterly artist and writer with an unerring eye for domestic detail and the profusion of plant and animal life around him. He writes: "We hear ducks and moorhens in the stream and in our neighbours' lake; there are rats, mice, voles and shrews that our cat catches, torments, tosses about, loses and then forgets; there are toads in theshed, crested newts in the cellar… on the field in front of the house we see hares boxing, and foxes,muntjacs, pheasants and rabbits, and until recently, hedgehogs..."
While never claiming to be a study of the whole region, In the Country evokes a countryside which in many ways represents England as a whole. Seen through the eyes of an artist of international renown, it is an invitation to share his wealth of rural experience, capturing for readers a way of life at once transient and timeless.
"David Gentleman pounces on his subject with a feline velocity [...] he delivers a poetry of exultant concentration"
– Julian Bell, Guardian
"Gentleman's Suffolk – a kind of soaring levelness, golden, its distances measured by threatened oaks, its villages sheltering in the Blyth valley [...] His drawings of it are a revelation."
– Ronald Blythe