lives of houses

‘Moving House’, in Lives of Houses, ed. by Kate Kennedy and Hermione Lee, Princeton University Press, 2020.


When I moved house, I found myself shaken by the strangeness of objects pulled out from their habitual moorings, the physical effort required to collapse rooms into taped cartons, and the imaginative effort, the sheer invention, involved in making up the life of a new home. I wanted to ask some of those who have thought most intensely about belonging, and belongings, how they responded to these episodes of upheaval when the still-point goes spinning. This essay considers the social history of house-moving, and the particular experiences of William Cowper, Charles Lamb, and John Clare.

ivon hitchens

‘Hitchens’ Places’ in Ivon Hitchens: Space through Colour, Pallant House Gallery, 2019.


See also Art UK feature on Hitchens, ‘A Painter’s Sense of Place’, with text excerpted from the essay above and images of the many Hitchens paintings to be found in UK public collections.


‘Place works unpredictably on people, and people who love places can respond in the most unpredictable ways of all. Hitchens' chosen spots tended to be hidden, but what he made in them, and made of them, were paintings of utmost exuberance.’

landscape now

‘Landscape Now: Conversation Piece’, British Art Studies, 10, November 2018.


British Art Studies is published by the Paul Mellon Centre and the Yale Centre for British Art, and it’s freely available online. Issue 10 emerged partly from the Landscape Now conference (London, 2017) which asked how art historians today are approaching the rich, alluring, contested history of landscape art. For the journal, I wrote an essay of ‘provocation’ and invited responses from ten people engaged in different ways with art and landscape.