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Secrets of the Irish Landscape
Secrets of the Irish Landscape
Our Price: €29.00

Shortlisted for the Best Irish Published Book of the Year Award 2013

This book examines many little understood aspects of the Irish Landscape from the last Ice Age until now. Historians, archaeologists, biologists and earth scientists each bring their unique take on how the landscape and the life it supports have been crafted by natural and human events. Some of the great enigmas of the past are now being unravelled, and this book gives a fascinating and fresh glimpse of how Ireland's unique and stunning ecosystem has evolved.

The latest scientific theories, techniques and methods are used to bring readers up-to-date on each of these remarkable stories. Unravelling this history, as revealed through the chapters of this book, uses a wide array of evidence and clues, some ingenious; to build an amazing history that is part of all our pasts. The endeavours of humans whether in politics, art or territorial ambition are every bit as important as great ice-sheets, climatic catastrophes and even microscopic plant diseases in shaping and understanding this landscape of ours.

The book also celebrates the pioneering work of Robert Lloyd Praeger. In 1895 Praeger began a pilgrimage across Ireland that was to last five years. His aim was to chart the distribution of all plants across the country. His observations of the landscape and its people became a classic of Irish travel writing in The Way That I Went. Praeger pondered the question of where the flora of Ireland come from, and conducted some of the greatest investigations into these matters with the Clare Island survey which was completed in 1913 this being its centenary year. Inspired by Praeger, modern experts are unravelling these stories using new techniques and methods, and bring together their recent findings to unravel the remarkable secrets of the Irish landscape.

James Barry Irish Artist
James Barry's Murals at the Royal Society of Arts: Envisioning a New Public Art
Our Price: €49.00

Winner of the William MB Berger Prize for British Art History 2015.


Between 1777 and 1784, the Irish artist James Barry (1741-1806) executed six murals for the Great Room of the [Royal] Society of Arts in London. Although his works form the most impressive series of history paintings in Great Britain, they remain one of the British art world's best kept secrets, having attracted little attention from critics or the general public.

James Barry's Murals at the Royal Society of Arts is the first to offer an in-depth analysis of these remarkable paintings and the first to demonstrate that the artist was pioneering a new approach to public art in terms of the novelty of the patronage and the highly personal nature of his content.

Barry insisted on, and received, complete control over his subject matter, the first time in the history of Western art that the patron of a large, impressive interior agreed to such a demand. The artist required autonomy in order to present his personal vision, which encompasses a rich and complex surface narrative as well as a hidden meaning that has gone unperceived for 230 years. The artist disguised his deeper message due to its inflammatory nature. Were his meaning readily apparent, the Society would have thrown out him and his murals.

Ultimately, as this book seeks to show, the artist intended his paintings to engage the public in a dialogue that would utterly transform British society in terms of its culture, politics, and religion. In making this case, the book brings this neglected series into the mainstream of discussions of British art of the Romantic period, revealing the intellectual profundity invested in the genre of history painting and re-evaluating the role Christianity played in Enlightenment thought.

William L Pressly is Emeritus Professor of Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century European Art at the University of Maryland. He is the author of James Barry: The Life and Art of James Barry (Yale University Press, 1981) and James Barry: the Artist as Hero (Tate Gallery, 1983).
   
 
 
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