Creative Stoke

The E-BNR aims to build a comprehensive & unique cross-artform guide to the British neo-Romantic tradition, from 1880 to the present day.

While the British Romantics of 1789-1824 have spawned a vast industry of publishers, conferences & tourism, the later neo-Romantic traditions remain largely neglected. The E-BNR is aimed at bringing this hidden tradition to light.

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  Neo-Romantic artists have drawn their inspiration   from artists of the age of Romanticism or earlier.   Characteristic themes in their work include a   mystical approach to the British landscape...

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  This is the online   Encyclopedia-BNR,   version 0.5 beta.

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George Macdonald.
Lewis Carroll.
John Ruskin.
Christina Rosetti.
Rudyard Kipling.
William Morris.
Richard Jefferies.
Edward Carpenter.
Kenneth Grahame.
Arthur Machen.
Algernon Blackwood.


G.M. Hopkins.
W.B. Yeats.
A.E. Housman
Laurence Binyon.


Gustav Holst.
Vaughan Williams.
Edward Elgar.
Granville Bantock.


Edward Burne-Jones.
Maxwell Armfield.
Mark Symons.
John Duncan.
George Henry.
  & Edward Atkinson

Gerald Moira.
Robert Bateman.
Samuel Palmer.
Walter Crane.
Edward Robert Hughes.
Bernard Sleigh.
Eleanor Fortescue

Nathaniel Sparks.
F.C. Robinson.
Reginald Hallward.
Laurence Housman.
James Joshua Guthrie.
Paul Nash.
Charles Mahoney.
Arthur Rackham.
Thomas Cooper Gotch.
Christopher Wood.


Aesthetic movement.
Birmingham Group.
Neo-gothic architecture.
Fairy & ghost photos.

1920s - 'places to hide':

Ballet design.
Book illustration.
The Kibbo Kift.



John Cowper Powys.
J.R.R. Tolkien.
Mervyn Peake.
C.S. Lewis.
Daphne du Maurier.
Mary Webb.
Herbert Read.
Forrest Reid
T.H. White.
Hugh Walpole.


Robert Graves.
Rev. Francis Kilvert.
Geoffrey Grigson.
Bill Brandt.
Roger Mayne.
John Deakin.
Nikolaus Pevsner.


Arnold Bax.
Vaughan Williams.


John Piper.
John Craxton.
John Minton.
David Jones.
Graham Sutherland.
Stanley Spencer.
Eric Ravilious.
Ralph Chubb.
Charles Mahoney.
Michael Ayrton.
Thomas Monnington.


Dylan Thomas.
Edwin Smith.
Ithell Colquhoun.
Francis Berry.
George Barker.
Laurence Whistler.


Humphrey Jennings.
Powell & Pressburger.
David Lean.
Epic British film music.






   ENTRY: Ovenden, Graham

   Graham Ovenden (b. 1943) is an English painter, fine art photographer, writer and architect.

Born in New Alresford into a Fabian household, Ovenden attended Itchen Grammar School (1954-59) and was taught music privately by Albert Ketelbey. Ovenden went on to be a student at the Royal College of Music, before he eventually turned to the visual arts.

   His 1950s street photographs of London's children's street culture have been published as Childhood Streets (1998).

   In his youth he was mentored by Lord David Cecil and Sir John Betjeman. He attended the Southampton School of Art, and graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1968. One of his most important teachers was James Sellars, an expert on Samuel Palmer. His main fame has been as a painter, and he seems to have begun painting from 1962/3.

   Ovenden was a key founder of the Brotherhood of Ruralists in 1975, along with Graham Arnold, Ann Arnold, Sir Peter Blake, David Inshaw and other painters. The Brotherhood is still extant, although three members have left; and in 2005 it had a major London exhibition at the Leicester Galleries. They were given the name "Ruralists" by writer Laurie Lee.

   Ovenden is an established authority on Victorian photography, although not one without an impish sense of fun:- he once secreted some masterly forgeries into the National Portrait Gallery, under the name of a mythical Victorian era photographer named Francis Hetling. A small scandal ensued and Ovenden actually found himself being prosecuted at the Old Bailey. He was found not guilty. Among his books on Victorian photography are: Pre Raphaelite Photography (1972); Victorian Children (1972); Victorian Erotic Photography (1973); A Victorian Album - Julia Margaret Cameron and Her Circle (1975); Alphonse Mucha Photographs (1974); Clementina Lady Hawarden (1974); Hill & Adamson, Photographers (1973); Lewis Carroll (1984). He also curated the 1993/4 exhibition Recording Angels, The Work of Lewis Wickes Hine.

   Ovenden is noted as a photographer in his own right, and his book States of Grace (1993) is highly sought after by collectors and is now almost impossible to obtain. He is also a writer, having contributed to a variety of journals, and he has also undertaken stage design and book illustrations.

   His work is in a variety of collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, The Tate, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

   Since he moved to Cornwall in 1973 with painter Annie Ovenden and his family, Ovenden has been constructing the only current neo-Gothic building in England, "Barley Splatt" near Bodmin in Cornwall. Barley Splatt has featured in a number of architectural journals and magazines.

   His daughter Emily grew up at Barley Splatt and is now a writer, and a singer with the Mediaeval Baebes.

Further reading:

Victor Arwas, Laurie Lee, Robert Melville. Graham Ovenden. (Academy Editions, 1987)
The Brotherhood of Ruralists - A Celebration (2003)
Christopher Martin (Ed). Art & Design No.23 - The Ruralists (Academy Editions, 1991)
Hugh Cumming. "Post-Modern Landscape: The Art of Graham Ovenden" in: Art and Design: The Post-Avant-Garde Painting in the Eighties (1987)
States of Grace (1993)





Leslie Hurry.
Robin Tanner.
Ceri Richards.
Michael Ayrton.

  Classical music:

Havergal Brian.
Benjamin Britten.


Dylan Thomas   (reputation).
Vernon Watkins.
Ted Hughes.
Christopher Logue.
Keith Vaughan.
Ore magazine.
Eric Ratcliffe.
Edwin Morgan.
Roland Mathias.


Laurie Lee.
Alan Garner.
John Gordon.


Laurie Lee.
E.P. Thompson.
J.A. Baker.
Geoffrey Grigson.



Fay Godwin.
James Ravilious.
Raymond Moore.
Andy Goldsworthy.

  Popular music:

Robert Wyatt.
Syd Barrett.
Marc Bolan.
John Foxx.
Throbbing Gristle.
Genesis P. Orridge.
The Dancing Did.
Virginia Astley.
Brian Eno.
Roger Eno.

  Classical music:

Dave Heath.


Clifford Harper.


Derek Jarman.
David Rudkin.


Vivienne Westwood.


Angela Carter.
Ted Hughes.
Peter Ackroyd.
Heathcote Williams.
Keith Roberts.
Richard Cowper.
Robert Holdstock.
Susan Cooper.


Kathleen Raine.
Roland Mathias.
Gwyn Thomas.
R.S. Thomas.
George Mackay

Seamus Heaney.
Pauline Stainer.


Graham Ovenden.
Annie Ovenden.
Ann Arnold.
Robert Lenkiewicz.
John Elwyn.
Cecil Collins.
Ian Hamilton Finlay.
Andrew Logan.
Alan Reynolds.
Norman Ackroyd.
Christopher P. Wood.
Jim Leon.

  Groups & circles:

The Ruralists.
Temenos magazine.
Resurgence magazine.
Crop Circles, makers.
English Underground.

2000 - to the present:

Andrew Logan.
Ian Hamilton Finlay.
Vivienne Westwood.
Andy Goldsworthy.
Christopher Bucklow.
Peter Ackroyd.
Pauline Stainer.
Brian Eno.
Roger Eno.
Jon Aldersea.
Christopher P. Wood.
Made in Staffordshire, England.   2007. Last updated: 18th Jan 2007. Site search by PicoSearch.
Some of the initial E-BNR text was sourced or partly derived from Wikipedia, used here under the GNU licence.