A broad canvas

The map From Gainborough's Suffolk to British Rail's Forth Bridge, art commentator John Windsor charts British landscape painting, both ancient and modern

In centuries past, artists in oils painted a map of Britain that showed the landscape as a backdrop to man's conquest of nature - his wonders of architecture, engineering and industry or his dominion over the beasts of the field. Few, apart from Turner and a handful of visionaries such as Palmer and Smetham, evoked the sublime, superhuman forces that shake the greenery. A new generation of 20th-century landscape artists is humbler - and more romantic. The man-made landscape, as Lowry showed, is romantic no longer. Instead, the awe-inspired visions of Turner, and of the little- known Smetham, who painted lone figures lost in a vastness, have come into their own. Today's landscape artists allow themselves to be overwhelmed by craggy immensities and terrifying tempests. The natural world is no longer a backdrop, but centre-stage. Man is quivering unseen in the wings. Only the people industry - as exemplified by Cuneo's travel poster - clings to the illusion that man is in control.

1 The Highlands breaking out in colour. The acrylic "Dubh Lochain above Glen Arnisdale", is in a solo show by James Hawkins, 44, until 27 March at Davies & Tooth, The Air Gallery, 32 Dover Street, London W1 (0171-409 1516).

2 Back in 1952, the late Terence Cuneo strapped himself to a girder of the Forth Railway Bridge, 170ft above the water in a 54mph wind, to paint this British Railways poster. It will be in Christie's South Kensington's poster sale, 27 March (estimate pounds 800 to pounds 1,200). Christie's: 0171-321 3120.

3 Turner's tiny watercolour of Rievaulx Abbey, North Yorkshire (c 1822-1825), was in January by two armed men from York City Art Gallery. The painting is better known than the ruined abbey - therefore virtually impossible to sell on.

4 Wealthy newlyweds "Mr and Mrs Andrews" (c1750), in Gainsborough's celebrated portrait, lord it over their Suffolk estate. On view at the National Gallery.

5 Suffolk-based Barrie Houghton, 56, an indefatigable innovator in mixed media, painted this impression of Sutton Hoo last year. It is in his solo show until 27 March at the John Russell Gallery, 4-6 Wherry Lane, Ipswich (01473 212051).

9 Jason Hicklin, 32, found himself at Harlech Castle on the 200th anniversary of Turner's visit there. This oil and watercolour is the result. Hicklin's current show is at the Beardsmore Gallery, 22-24 Prince of Wales Road, London NW5 (0171-485 0923).

8 The collaged plywood and acrylic paintings of the north Cornwall coast at Boscastle, by Vanessa Gardiner, 39, follow the contemporary Cornwall tradition of turning rugged rock into geometric abstraction and evoke what she calls the "awkwardness" of the landscape. "Harbour Coast No 5" was painted in 1997. Duncan Campbell Contemporary Art, 15 Thackeray Street, Kensington Square, London W8 (0171-937 8665).

7 No, not Samuel Palmer, but "Going Home" by another Sussex artist, James Smetham (1821-1889), who painted like him. The lost soul is the artist.

6 The Limehouse Series by Andrew Gifford, 28, comprises 40 oils depicting the Port of London's former warehouses. They will be shown by John Martin at the artLONDON contemporary art fair at the Duke of York's Barracks, King's Road, London SW3.From 16-20 June. John Martin: 0171-499 1314.

Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
Environment
People are buying increasing numbers of plants such as lavender to aid the insects
environmentGardeners rally round the endangered bumblebee
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
Arts & Entertainment
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
musicBest exclusives coming to an independent record shop near you this Record Store Day
News
Ida Beate Loken has been living at the foot of a mountain since May
newsNorwegian gives up home comforts for a cave
Extras
indybest10 best gardening gloves
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
Arts & Entertainment
Comedian Lenny Henry is calling for more regulation to support ethnic actors on TV
tvActor and comedian leads campaign against 'lack of diversity' in British television
News
Posted at the end of March, this tweeted photo was a week off the end of their Broadway shows
people
News
peopleStar to remain in hospital for up to 27 days to get over allergic reaction
Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Apprentice IT Technician

    £150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

    1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

    £153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

    1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

    £150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

    Sales Associate Apprentice

    £150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

    Day In a Page

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

    Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
    Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

    British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

    The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
    Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

    Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

    Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
    Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
    Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

    Cannes Film Festival

    Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
    The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

    The concept album makes surprise top ten return

    Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
    Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

    Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

    Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
    10 best baking books

    10 best baking books

    Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
    Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

    Jury still out on Pellegrini

    Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

    As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
    Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

    Mad Men returns for a final fling

    The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

    Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit