As I am occasionally wont to repine the loss of an earlier rural way of life, one-room schools, general stores, the church in the glen each swept away by storms of change, idyllic landscapes remodeled, life leaving the land, I was somewhat comforted to hear about the great agrarian debates fomented in mid 1700s England - aggressive land grabs amassing huge, but 'efficient', farms displacing the innocent and converting peasants to a migrating class in the process.
Of all places, I discovered this deja vu while studying the works of Thomas Gainsborough (remember Blue Boy) who promoted his hustle to great wealth and fame by painting equally famous full length (more expen$ive) portraits of royalty and the nouveau rich. When painting for fun, however, his favorite subjects were rural landscapes and the idyllic peasant life. These never sold; nonetheless, his empathy for the displaced farmers was genuine. Here's a potent example called Evening Landscape with Peasants Returning from Market, circa 1770, 47" x 57". This elegy shows peasants 'returning from market' thereby lamenting the fact that they no longer live from the land. Click here.
© r1117-37 The Displaced
Habersham County, County
Sunday 30 July 2000