Monday, August 11, 2014

The Presence of the Past: Richard Jefferies, the Middle Ridgeway and landscape change

Richard Jefferies Society Birthday Lecture

Saturday 25 October 2014 - 2.30-4.40pmSubject: The Presence of the Past:  Richard Jefferies, the Middle Ridgeway and landscape change
Speaker: Prof. Patrick Dillon
Venue: Liddington Village Hall, Church Road, Liddington, SN4 0HB
Admittance: Free

Richard Jefferies' lifetime spans a period of intensification in agriculture, culminating in ‘High Farming’, followed by one of depression. The ups and downs of farming and the associated impacts on wildlife and the countryside are recurring themes in his writing. Viewed from the perspective of environmental history, Jefferies' works can be seen as a commentary on an ever changing relationship between economy and ecology, land-use and wildlife. In this lecture Patrick will offer an insight into the downland landscapes of Jefferies' country and the changes that have taken place subsequently. The agriculturally-dominating influence of the London market, the relationship between ploughland and grassland, land holding, and countryside sports, emerge from the historical record as the chief forces that have created the landscape we see today and the wildlife that inhabits it.  In exploring these themes, he will draw on a book, ‘Middle Ridgeway’, written jointly with Eric Jones, and illustrated with landscape paintings by his daughter Anna Dillon. Publication of the book is anticipated in 2015.
Patrick Dillon is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Exeter.