For the first research seminar of our new project ‘Pioneers of Local Thinking, 1740-1820’, we will welcome Prof. Peter Davidson to Birmingham for a discussion of John Sell Cotman, John Aubrey, and representations of neglected or marginal places spanning the late seventeenth to the early nineteenth centuries.
Tracing a rich and rangy seam of placethinking, Peter will discuss Aubrey’s drawings of his own house (made in 1670 when he knew that he would have to leave it), particularly his set of views of undramatic slopes and ends of fields. These are places which carry the same all-but-secret autobiographical meaning as the views of underbrush and shadowed streams which John Sell Cotman made in the course of his northern tour in 1805. Peter will cast back through these English expressions of place to the wider context of Dutch paintings of ordinary time in ordinary corners, and forward to consider their qualities in relation to Wordsworthian romanticism. After his talk, Peter will join Alexandra Harris in conversation followed by a Q&A.
Peter is Senior Research Fellow in Renaissance and Baroque Studies and Curator of the Campion Hall Collection in Oxford. He has authored monographs on the verse of Richard Fanshawe and Robert Southwell, as well a trio of acclaimed texts on landscape art: The Idea of North (2005), Distance and Memory (2013) and a cultural history of twilight The Last of the Light (2015).
This will be a hybrid event taking place in the UoB Arts Building, Room G20. To join the event online, please register here.
Image: John Sell Cotman, Mousehold Heath, Norwich, 1810