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Title: The protected vista :an intellectual and cultural history, as seen from Richmond Hill
Authors: Brigden, Thomas Geoffrey
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This dissertation studies how the protected vista exerts power over urban form by examining aspects of its intellectual and cultural history. The focus is the picturesque view from Richmond Hill, which was celebrated by leading artists and writers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and is the earliest vista to have been afforded 1 statutory protection as we now understand it. It is argued here that the values informing global view protection policies remain, in no small part, the values of the eighteenth and nineteenth English landscape movement as produced by, and which contributed to the production of, the view from Richmond Hill. It is important to appreciate the picturesque origins of this view in order to appreciate how protected view policies continue to overlay eighteenth century picturesque values onto contemporary world cities. Beginning with a broad exploration of view protection policies worldwide, this research demonstrates the diverse nature of view protection, which exerts considerable power over numerous world cities. While those contexts are diverse, the values at work in the idea of the view, and the idea of view protection, derive in no small part from a highly particular physical and intellectual context; not just Western, not just British, but from a landscape along a few miles of the Thames river bank to the West of London and the values associated with it. Through a detailed study of the intellectual history of the view from Richmond Hill, and the role it played as a model English picturesque landscape, this dissertation traces the values inherent in that view. It follows its colonial export to the landscape of Richmond, Virginia, in the eighteenth century, and its subsequent influence over that American landscape. In doing so, it illustrates how the intellectual and cultural history of the view from Richmond Hill has shifted in parallel with increasingly kinetic and technologised ideas of the view, as seen from the train window, the car windscreen and on the cinema screen, absorbed and disseminated by each technological advance. In this way, this dissertation shows how the values originating from London’s first protected vista maintain their power in increasingly systematised contemporary policies of view protection.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

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