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'A spacious horizon is an image of liberty': Artistic and literary representations of space and freedom in the English common field landscape in the face of Parliamentary Enclosure, 1810-1830.

By Ian Waites


This article explores artistic representations and responses to the Parliamentary Enclosures of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It examines the literary work of John Clare and the paintings of Peter DeWint in depth. It highlights the competing cultural and political agendas of the time, the cultural meanings that common land and the rights of access to it held for common people, and the way the privatisation of common land dramatically affected their cultural lives. The article then draws some comparisons between the cultural politics of land and space from this period, and contemporary urban, spatial political movements such as Reclaim the Streets, in order to highlight its continued urgency and vitality

Topics: V350 History of Art
Publisher: Conference Socialist Economist
Year: 2004
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