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King Arthur's Britain: A Photographic Odyssey Hardcover – 16 Nov 1995

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Blandford Press; 1st edition (16 Nov. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713725281
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713725285
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 22.9 x 29.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,822,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Synopsis

A collection of photographs which illustrate the sites and locations of the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. The text aims to trace the Arthurian myth via the legends, chronologically and geographically around Britain.

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Format: Hardcover
I may be biased in this review however with regards to the photography I can safely say that the right chap got the job in taking the photos. How do I know this? Well, I was one of two people who went along with Mick while he took these photos. The time and effort he put into them was astonishing to say the least. I recall one photo that took 3 hours before the scene was right, the clouds were correct, the sun was in the right place and the camera set up in the best place before it was taken. No photoshop here, folks.
In part, not only is it a cracking book but for me, the photos are a reminder of the fun we had watching Mick take these.
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Format: Hardcover
Much of the British landscape could serve as a movie set for timeless ghost stories. Sacred stones erected in far-off millennia stand, haunting, or lie fallen, buried in sheep-cropped grass, like the corpses of men who heaved them up. Much that we see on the land, the stone rings, earthen embankments, ditches, grave barrows, cattle pens and other traces of human settlement were old when Stonehenge was young. King Arthur may have been a fifth century warrior who led the Celtic (Welsh) speaking Britons against Anglo-Saxon invaders, but Britons tend to see him in all things ancient.

John Matthews and photographer Michael J. Stead have captured much of the mood and some of the mysticism in "King Arthur's Britain." The changing lights are here and the lowering banks of cloud that throw a sunny hilltop into a spectral fog within minutes. The original Welsh legends from the dark ages describe Arthur's Camelot as the capital of an empire which gathered up peoples speaking many languages but nevertheless lived in harmony. That was a miracle in days that spawned the Arthurian tales. Centuries later, the Plantagenet King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine brought the old Arthurian legends back into fashion: they used the old stories to demonstrate to their own polyglot peoples that all could live together peacefully.

This double legacy leaves at least two distinct sets of "Arthurian" ruins and legends imposed on the British landscape (and on the British psyche): There's the original Welsh-speaking Arthur, the Celtic hero who held back marauding Angles in the fifth or sixth centuries; and there's the medieval, twelfth century Arthur, who became subject matter (in courtly French) for troubadours and minstrels.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars On the trail of King Arthur 15 Aug. 2007
By Robert Fripp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Much of the British landscape could serve as a movie set for timeless ghost stories. Sacred stones erected in far-off millennia stand, haunting, or lie fallen, buried in sheep-cropped grass, like the corpses of men who heaved them up. Much that we see on the land, the stone rings, earthen embankments, ditches, grave barrows, cattle pens and other traces of human settlement were old when Stonehenge was young. King Arthur may have been a fifth century warrior who led the Celtic (Welsh) speaking Britons against Anglo-Saxon invaders, but Britons tend to see him in all things ancient.

John Matthews and photographer Michael J. Stead have captured much of the mood and some of the mysticism in "King Arthur's Britain." The changing lights are here and the lowering banks of cloud that throw a sunny hilltop into a spectral fog within minutes. The original Welsh legends from the dark ages describe Arthur's Camelot as the capital of an empire which gathered up peoples speaking many languages but nevertheless lived in harmony. That was a miracle in days that spawned the Arthurian tales. Centuries later, the Plantagenet King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine brought the old Arthurian legends back into fashion: they used the old stories to demonstrate to their own polyglot peoples that all could live together peacefully.

This double legacy leaves at least two distinct sets of "Arthurian" ruins and legends imposed on the British landscape (and on the British psyche): There's the original Welsh-speaking Arthur, the Celtic hero who held back marauding Angles in the fifth or sixth centuries; and there's the medieval, twelfth century Arthur, who encouraged troubadours and minstrels (in courtly French) and seated his guests at a Round Table where all might speak and eat freely.

Text and photographs in "King Arthur's Britain" capture both these kingdoms for us. Evanescent as they surely were in their own days, these ancient societies left ruins that mark the land forever. For those who cannot travel and dream on the moors and the hilltops, or touch the sacred stones, this book is the next best thing. "King Arthur's Britain" brings the mysteries alive.

By Robert Fripp
Author, "Power of a Woman. Memoirs of a turbulent life: Eleanor of Aquitaine"
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