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Rediscovering Lost Landscapes: Topographical Art in north-west Italy, 1800-1920


Charles Pietra A. Libri


After the Napoleonic wars many wealthy British women and men settled along the coast in Liguria and travelled in Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta in search of warmth and health. They established English-speaking colonies of retired clerics, colonial officials, aristocrats and industrialists at places such as Alassio, Bordighera, Sanremo and Portofino. Many were keen artists. This book assesses hundreds of topographical drawings, paintings and photographs of north-west Italy produced by these British visitors and residents in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Through the identification and analysis of these works, scattered today in private and public collections in Italy and Britain, it provides insights into the way Italian landscapes were understood and appreciated. Considered in conjunction with historical photography, maps, archives and fieldwork , they deepen our knowledge of past land management traditions and recover how the contemporary landscape looked. The artists are placed in their intellectual and geographical contexts; and interconnections between British and Italian artists and between topographical art and photography are explored. Different chapters assess the main subjects depicted, including mountains, seascapes, rivers, agriculture, trees and woodland, castles, churches, villages, industries and landscapes of luxury. Dr PIETRO PIANA is Research Fellow at the Universit degli Studi at Genova; CHARLES WATKINS is Professor of Rural Geography at the University of Nottingham; ROSS BALZARETTI Is Professor of Italian History at the University of Nottingham.
 
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