Ireland and the Picturesque


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Design, Landscape Painting, and Tourism, 1700–1840

Finola O'Kane

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Price: $55.00
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That Ireland is picturesque is a well-worn cliché, but little is understood of how this perception was created, painted, and manipulated during the long 18th century. This book positions Ireland at the core of the picturesque's development and argues for a far greater degree of Irish influence on the course of European landscape theory and design. Positioned off-axis from the greater force-field, and off-shore from mainland Europe and America, where better to cultivate the oblique perspective? This book charts the creation of picturesque Ireland, while exploring in detail the role and reach of landscape painting in the planning, publishing, landscaping and design of Ireland's historic landscapes, towns, and tourist routes. Thus it is also a history of the physical shaping of Ireland as a tourist destination, one of the earliest, most calculated, and most successful in the world.

Published for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

Finola O’Kane is lecturer in the School of Architecture, Landscape and Civil Engineering, University College Dublin.

“In Ireland and the Picturesque, Finola O’Kane provides a scholarly introduction to the cult of the untamed landscape that developed in Europe in the mid-eighteenth century, in reaction to the formalist design aesthetic of the Renaissance

“O’Kane’s own training as an architect enables her to appreciate underlying patterns, tensions and connections. Her narrative is full of insights, documents and detail, but can be overly mechanical, with intention sought, motivation ascribed and outputs analysed but with less discussion of poetic feeling, that quality most prized in the age of the picturesque.”—Peter Murray, Irish Times, 13th July 2013

“The two-way flow of picturesque inspiration across the Irish Sea was a complex cultural phenomenon that this study brilliantly illuminates.”—William Laffan, World of Interiors

“Those who love landscape painting will certainly take delight in Finola O’Kane’s gloriously illustrated study of the beginnings of the picturesque in Ireland”—Jonathan Edmonds, Western Mail

Winner of the 2015 John Brinckerhoff Jackson Book Prize sponsored by the Foundation for Landscape Studies.

Won Honorable Mention for the  2016 Elisabeth Blair MacDougal Award sponsored by the Society of Architectural Historians.
ISBN: 9780300185386
Publication Date: August 20, 2013
Publishing Partner: Published for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
240 pages, 9 3/4 x 11
120 color + 45 b/w illus.