'A wonderfully deft and varied study, full of voices, noticings, and contrasting ways of looking. Owens has a gift for making the past feel so close that we might be riding over a hill with Gerald of Wales or John Leland … Drawing on her years as a curator, Owens brings a wealth of objects – painted hangings, murals, stage designs – to set alongside poems, paintings, maps and histories. Here is landscape as solace, nightmare, challenge, trap; landscape observed through centuries with worry and affection, distress and delight'
'Engaging … much of the pleasure of this book – and it is immensely pleasurable – comes from the author’s own enjoyment and her sympathy with her subjects'
Jenny Uglow, Times Literary Supplement
'Wonderfully fluent and revealing … Owens adroitly mixes literature, art and culture to show how perceptions of the British countryside have changed over the centuries and how artists and writers have been at the vanguard of these shifts … Owens uses her impressively wide frame of reference effortlessly – and always revealingly – to zoom from panorama to close-up'
'If you think you know the British landscape, think again. And think with your eyes and imagination. Susan Owens steps neatly between artists and writers, seascapes and treescapes, viewed under mythological, Italian, industrial, and eventually ecological light. This informative, elegant book wears its learning lightly, moving sympathetically through space and centuries and inviting us to become mental travellers, coming with open minds and eyes to the wonders of the British landscape'
Fiona Stafford, author of The Long, Long Life of Trees and The Brief Life of Flowers