Looking to Sea - Lily Le Brun
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Looking to Sea - Lily Le Brun

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An alternative history of modern Britain, ​Looking to Sea is an exquisite work of cultural, artistic and philosophical storytelling.

Looking to Sea considers ten pivotal artworks, from Vanessa Bell's ​Studland Beach, one of the first modernist paintings in Britain, to Paul Nash's work bearing the scars of his experience in the trenches and Martin Parr's photographs of seaside resorts in the 1980s, which raised controversial questions of class. Each of the startlingly different pieces, created between 1912 and 2015, opens a window onto big ideas, from modernism and the sublime, the impact of the world wars and colonialism, to issues crucial to our world today like the environment and nationhood.

In this astonishingly perceptive portrait of the twentieth century, art critic Lily Le Brun brings a fresh eye to a vast idea, offering readers an imaginative new way of seeing our island nation.

'Le Brun's writing is at once bold and delicate, far-reaching and fine-tuned. Her book explores the inexhaustible variety of human perception.' Alexandra Harris

'A smart and clear-eyed set of meditations on marine gaze, made with a painterly touch worthy of the chosen artists. Empathy and intelligence lift memoir into cultural history.' Iain Sinclair