This thought-provoking new book brings together a varied collection of material relating to projects on which landscape architect and planner Rosamunde Codling has worked, from a single field in East Anglia to a whole continent.
The author argues that landscape belongs – is “common” – to us all. “Landscapes are for living in, and many of their components meet our material needs. But there is more – landscapes are part of our lives, places where values and emotions co-exist, giving us a different form of sustenance not met by other means.” Codling’s childhood landscapes were the woods and copses of the Weald, followed in her student days by the hills of the Cotswolds and then the wide, open spaces of East Anglia. An early fascination with the Antarctic led to studies at the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, culminating in two visits to the continent. Her work in the East Anglian landscape has included a water storage project in the Wash, and the Broad at the University of East Anglia; while more personal satisfaction has come from the acquisition of “the Moat”, a field of heavy Norfolk clay with a mediaeval moat in the centre that her family has planted, tended and enjoyed over many years.
In her wide-ranging book, among other subjects she contemplates the link between landscape and history; the portrayal of landscape through art, poetry and even cigarette cards; landscapes that “surprise”; and landscapes beyond our own planet.
R. S. Thomas’s poem “Those Others” resonates: I have looked long on this land, Trying to understand, My place in it.
“Words more eloquent than mine, and they describe my efforts over many years,” writes Codling.