The Circus

The Circus

Pp 303-304

21st C

Margaret Gainsborough's husband hits the headlines this week. An article by Charles Glover in The Sunday Times on February 12, 2012, reports the use of one of Thomas Gainsborough's early landscapes as a weapon in the battle to protect the gentle rolling countryside he depicted around 1748.

Protesters on the east coast are angered by the threat of an army of huge new pylons marching across this area of natural beauty unchanged since Gainsborough recorded the scene two hundred and sixty years ago.

They criticize the insensitivity of the National Grid as it now plans to deliver a quarter of the country's electricity supply from new wind farms to be placed off the coast in the North Sea, using these gigantic metal structures, 196 feet high, striding across the landscape to do so. The protesters urge the authority to think again, and use underground cables to save Gainsborough's beautiful, unspoiled landscape. The painting concerned is "Wooded Landscape with Herdsman Seated" and it is housed in Gainsborough's House Museum in Sudbury.

Let's hope that the new energy secretary, Ed Davey, will be moved to cancel plans for the march of the giants and settle for the underground alternative.