Uvedale Price achieved most fame as the author of the influential Essay on the Picturesque of 1794 in which he argued that the work of the greatest landscape artists, such as Salvator Rosa, Rubens and Claude, should be used as models for the "improvement of real landscape". His attack on the smooth certainties of Capability Brown sparked off a public controversy, drawing in Richard Payne Knight and Humphry Repton, which became a cause celebre.
This is the first biography of Uvedale Price, bringing out his contradictory and elusive character and revealing an astonishing cast of friends and acquaintances, including Gainsborough, Voltaire, William Wordsworth and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The book shows how he developed his ideas through practical experimentation on his own land and buildings and provides an understanding of the context of Price's practices and theories and the key interconnections between his roles as landowner, art collector, forester, landscaper, connoisseur and scholar. Charles Watkins is Professor of Rural Geography, University of Nottingham; Ben Cowell is Regional Director - East of England, National Trust.