Tuesday, October 09, 2012


Trees in the Century of Commerce

William Morris (1834-1896), "The Beauty of Life," Hopes and Fears for Art. Five Lectures Delivered in Birmingham, London, and Nottingham, 1878-1881 (London: Ellis & White, 1882), pp. 71-113 (at 102-103, footnote omitted):
Again, I must ask what do you do with the trees on a site that is going to be built over? do you try to save them, to adapt your houses at all to them? do you understand what treasures they are in a town or a suburb? or what a relief they will be to the hideous dog-holes which (forgive me!) you are probably going to build in their places? I ask this anxiously, and with grief in my soul, for in London and its suburbs we always begin by clearing a site till it is as bare as the pavement: I really think that almost anybody would have been shocked, if I could have shown him some of the trees that have been wantonly murdered in the suburb in which I live (Hammersmith to wit), amongst them some of those magnificent cedars, for which we along the river used to be famous once.

But here again see how helpless those are who care about art or nature amidst the hurry of the Century of Commerce.

Pray do not forget, that any one who cuts down a tree wantonly or carelessly, especially in a great town or its suburbs, need make no pretence of caring about art.

Ivan Shishkin (1832-1898), Cutting of Wood

Hat tip: Andrew Rickard, who quotes another passage from Morris' lecture.

Related post: Hornbeams.


<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?