Abstract

Smith considers the aesthetic and political significance of the pollard in Georgian England, focusing on the pollarded oak in Gainsborough's Landscape with Woodcutter and Milkmaid (1755). Interpretations can be grouped into several distinct though often overlapping categories: as a response to enclosure, a commentary on larger issues of sin and transience, and an early version of the picturesque. Smith argues that Gainsborough's use of "complementary pairs," identified by John Barrell in the figural representation, can be extended to the two prominent oaks: one vigorous, unlopped, pointing to the future of England, the other gnarled and decaying but still a sign of the productivity of the English oak, and thus of the English citizenry.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-315X
Print ISSN
0013-2586
Pages
pp. 17-39
Launched on MUSE
2007-11-01
Open Access
No
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