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A Delightful Survey of the Best of England's Landscapes,
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This review is from: England's 100 Best Views (Hardcover)
I ordered this book in advance after seeing some of the pre-publicity material. I have to admit when it dropped though the letterbox I was initially a bit disappointed. I had been led to believe - or perhaps presumed - that this would be a large-format colour glossy coffee table style book. It was not, It was a smaller but substantially thicker (than I thought) book. So was I ultimately disappointed? No, not at all.
Rather than a simple book with a picture of a view with an extended caption (as this book so easily might have been) you get a more detailed narrative, supported by, not dominated by, the imagery. We get to learn more about the context and history of each location, and a very circumspect review. I had also expected, with the National Trust connection that this book might have laboured on rural landscapes and the 'Lost' England but no, Simon Jenkins selection of 100 views includes both the expected rustic scenes and the imposing urban. In particular he highlights one of my favourite views, that from the Old Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park where the elegance of the Royal Naval College and Queens House are juxtaposed with the developments of Canary Wharf and produce a view that is more than the sum of its parts.
So it's a book you can read, rather than merely look at. Do I have any complaints? Only that some of the views are shown not as they are now but in paintings. No problem with that - and some of those paintings are very appropriate - but it would have great to see the contemporary view for all the locations. A small point though, that should not detract from this book overall. Recommended.
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Initial post: 11 Oct 2013 15:01:53 BDT
Thanks, David, excellent review. Have to admit I was looking for a larger book when I went to take a quick look at a local bookstore. Had to go back, after reading your review to look for something smaller! Agree with you, though, that the format suits the title very well: much more detailed histories and descriptions of the locations than a conventional 'coffee table' book would have offered
In reply to an earlier post on 1 Nov 2013 16:14:37 GMT
David Hughes says:
Glad my comment let you find the book! I've got to admit it's been (and continues to be) a good read, and I've been encouraged to visit a couple of the locations already!
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