In the Country by David Gentleman
|In the Country by David Gentleman|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A book rich in pictures and prose as Gentleman looks at his beloved Suffolk home and the surrounding area. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 272||Date: September 2014|
|Publisher: Full Circle Editions|
|External links: Author's website|
I had no intention of reading In The Country. I opened it simply to see what it was like, but by the time that I shut it again I was nearly halfway through and I had no intention of giving the book to anyone else. Now in his eighties David Gentleman is well known as watercolourist, specialising in landscapes. He's based in London but also has a home in Suffolk in the village of Huntingfield and it's this house, the village and the surrounding area which is the location for In The Country.
The book is rich and generous. There are hundreds of reproductions of Gentleman's pictures - sometimes several on a page or a double-page spread. They range from quick, almost scribbled pictures or an aide-mémoire of people or places through to the beautifully-detailed pictures of Heveningham Hall or the deceptively simple watercolours such as the one on the jacket( and on the book itself, too!) If you'd like to look at some of the pictures, you'll find one of the house, part of a Suffolk longhouse here, as well as [the local church, and the countryside. The pictures are exquisite and repay careful study - I've found more details every time I've looked.
The pictures capture the area in every season. I expected to be most taken by those obviously done in spring (if you look on the back of the book cover you'll see the croci in full bloom under the hedges) but I was equally taken by the winter pictures and particularly those where there is snow on the ground. There's a glorious picture of Heveningham Hall where the golden stone appears dark and slightly forbidding against the snow. In complete contrast the interiors of his home - or other buildings such as the Walpole Old Chapel - convey a warmth over and above the details.
I could write for hours about the pictures but I'm no artist and my commentary is best restricted to saying how much I enjoy them and how I envy the artist his skill. But what lifts this book above 'a book of pictures' is what Gentleman has to say about Huntingfield. He has the city dweller and the artist's eye and he's conscious of things which might otherwise be missed. He's watched the area for over thirty five years and he's aware of the changes, of the animals which have disappeared. There's no pretence that this is an exhaustive study of the region, but it does give a wonderful feel for the area and indeed for other similar parts of the county. I loved the book and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
For another look at the countryside, I was also impressed by A Little Piece of England: A tale of self-sufficiency by John Jackson. For words and pictures from another artist we can recommend Judith Kerr's Creatures: A Celebration of the Life and Work of Judith Kerr.
You can read more book reviews or buy In the Country by David Gentleman at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy In the Country by David Gentleman at Amazon.com.
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