251 pages, b/w illustrations
A ravishing celebration of landscape, its iridescent beauty and its potential to comfort, awe and mesmerise.
Landskipping explores the different ways in which we have, throughout the ages, responded to the land, beginning in the eighteenth century when artists first started to paint English scenery, and the Lakes, as well as Snowdon, began to attract a new kind of visitor, the landscape tourist. Meanwhile, at the same time, an entirely different band of people, the agricultural improvers, also travelled the land, looking at it in terms of its usefulness as well as its beauty. What emerges as universal then and now is a place's capacity to frame and define our experience.
Moving from the rolling hills of Dorset to the peaks of the Scottish Highlands, this is an exquisite and compelling book, written by Anna Pavord with zest, passion and deep understanding.
"Rangey, deeply felt and sometimes luminous [...] Like the raking light that exposes ancient lynchets at sunset, such knowledge brings out new detail in the one particular view over a gate which Pavord has loved in all seasons, and which she now evokes for us as it changes through a full year. From the vantage point of this ending, I look back and find that the mixed landscape of the whole book is cast in a very beautiful light"
– Alexandra Harris, Guardian
"Intensely enjoyable [...] Anna Pavord is a beautiful writer who feels her subject deeply and with a lifetime's enjoyment and understanding"
– Lucy Lethbridge, Observer
"A lyrical defence of our landscape, its language, and its freedom from meddling by various agencies [...] a real pleasure"
– Mail on Sunday
"The whole book reads like a conversation at some fantasy dinner party where all the guests are impeccably informed, fervently opinionated, gently witty and incurably passionate about the countryside. It darts from topic to topic, century to century, painter to ploughman, mountain to meadow, like some mercurially active salmon making its way up the Dart or the Dee. Yet miraculously – or, more likely, thanks to Pavord's beautifully descriptive but never indulgent prose – it all hangs together. You can read the whole book in less time than it takes to go up and down Ben Nevis, and feel that you have bagged not just the king of Munros but the rural delights of an entire kingdom [...] Landskipping, however, is not some environmental rant. Pavord still sees plenty to celebrate about the British landscape, and plenty to send a delicious shiver up the spine as well"
– The Times
"Her eye can catch the colouring of a distant hill, the move of sun across a contour and the run of sheep into a dark cwm. She can talk to rooks in the treetops and smell flowers in a hedgerow. She was born to the countryside purple.
Landskipping is a hymn to the British landscape [...] intensely felt and totally engaged. [...] She is a beautiful writer"
– Simon Jenkins, Country Life
"Anyone who loves the variety and idiosyncrasies of the British countryside will relish this poignant celebration"
"Pavord is a great excavator of roots [...] Pavord threads together a patchwork of history, nature writing, polemic and memoir. Always she remains attuned to the sensual character of the environment [...] I was suitably entranced by its many splendid views and perspectives"
– Sunday Telegraph
"Pavord writes thoughtfully, with deep and wide-ranging knowledge, of the land and what grows on it, of art, literature and the history of taste. And she writes from the heart – the heart of a countrywoman as well as the country-lover [...] The fruit of genuine observation, described with straining for effect, it's a wonderful piece of writing – one of many in this superb, heartfelt and illuminating book"
– Literary Review
"[A] winning study of English landscape"
– Lucy Scholes, BBC Countryfile
"An insight into landscape's cultural impact to highlight the ability of wide open spaces to inspire and provide"
– Sunday Times
"An inspiring overview"
– Sunday Express
"A glorious and comprehensive celebration of all that is best in the British landscape [...] there is much beauty in what remains of the British landscape. How lucky we are to have a scholar of Anna Pavord's stature to chronicle it"
– Literary Review
"Intriguing [...] Scholarly, yet written with brio, her book should be read by all those who love our unique countryside"
– Catholic Morning Herald
"A personal meditation on the nature of our British countryside that expands progressively to encompass a far broader view"
– Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Times
"A grand tour around the British Isles [...] Anna Pavord proves, someone who has lived in the same place for 40 years can also bring fresh eyes"
"A thoughtful and deeply personal account [...] Pavord's writing is pure delight – elegant, observant and funny"
– Gardens Illustrated
"An American reader ends up wanting to invite Pavord, obviously a very thoughtful companion, on a trip to the Alaskan wilderness or the Californian desert"
– New York Times
"Pavord is a Barbour waistcoat, warming you up nicely in advance of the prospect while leaving you free to wave your arms in wonder"
– Books of the Year, Daily Telegraph
"Her love of Britain's landscape shines though in her beautifully written Landskipping, which wanders up mountain and down dale as it explores the different ways we have responded to the countryside over the centuries [...] An addictive ramble of a book"
– Andrew Holgate, Sunday Times, 'Books of the Year'
"Anna Pavord is the grande dame of that school of British nature writing that is about beautiful things, beautifully written [...] Pavord's roots are in the earth, but her cultural knowledge is sky-high"
– John Lewis-Stempel, The Times
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Anna Pavord's books include the bestselling The Tulip, The Naming of Names, and her most recent work, The Curious Gardener. Her column in the Independent has appeared since the newspaper's launch. She writes and presents programmes for BBC Radio 3 and 4 and served for 10 years on the Gardens Panel of the National Trust, the last five as Chairman.