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Am now into the second week of my residency at Ilam Park. It has been refreshing to be based out of doors in spectacular scenery and, so far, sunny weather.

Ilam Park is a National Trust property which has been highly influential in the development of the picturesque landscape in England in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It has been culturally important as well – visits by William Gilpin, Thomas Whately and Samuel Johnson recorded the landscape, promoting ideas of good taste in the landscape and design as well as pushing the idea that such landscapes imbedded good character in the people who responded well to them.

Gilpin rough notes of 1772 state

“Nature, in short, has been profuse of her charms to Ilam and art has well supported her.”


So I have a lot to live up to – cripes.

I have spent a lot of time going through maps and documents, discovering places old and new as well as recording visitors conversations about what/why they come to Ilam.

I have re-discovered and am starting to walk and document the ‘lost roads’ as well as photograph original views. I have run a children’s workshop with year 8 from a school in central Nottingham and have spent time with a local art group as well.

I am building up quite a portfolio of information.


Where this will go, who knows, but I certainly feel I am pushing the door upon the idea of Henri Bergosn’s ‘Elan Vital’.   ….so who knows….