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.

PayPal donations are very welcome! Click the button below to make a small donation to ongoing site costs. Thanks!
Front page - main image


  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...

  read more....

Site statistics, Aug 06: 3,453 unique visitors.

Search the site:

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

  Contact the editor.



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: Holst, Gustave

   Gustav Theodor Holst (b. September 21, 1874 – d. May 25, 1934) was an English composer. He is most famous for his orchestral suite The Planets. His music was influenced by English folk tunes, and is well known for unconventional use of meter and haunting melodies.

   Gustavus Holst was born in 1874 in Cheltenham, England to a family of Swedish extraction (by way of Latvia and Russia), and schooled at Pate's Grammar School.

   He attended the newly founded Royal College of Music in London on a scholarship, and there he met fellow student and lifelong friend Ralph Vaughan Williams, whose own music was for the most part quite different from Holst’s, but whose praise for his work was abundant.

   Holst was influenced during these years by the anarchist-tinged socialism of William Morris. It was also during these years that Holst became interested in Indian mysticism and spirituality. Clifford Bax introduced Holst to astrology, a hobby that was to inspire the later Planets Suite. He read astrological fortunes until his death, and called his interest in the stars his ‘pet vice’.

   He found a job as the Director of Music at St Paul’s Girls' School in Hammersmith, London, where he composed a successful and still popular work for the school orchestra St. Paul's Suite in 1913. He stayed in the post for many years.

   During these early years he was influenced greatly by the poetry of Walt Whitman, as were many of his contemporaries such as Edward Carpenter, and set his words in "The Mystic Trumpeter" (1904). He also set to music poetry by Thomas Hardy and Robert Bridges.

   It was also at this time that musical society as a whole, and friend Vaughan Williams in particular, became interested in old English folksongs, madrigal singers, and Tudor composers. Holst shared in his friend’s admiration for the simplicity and economy of these melodies, and their use in his compositions is one of his music’s most recognizable features.

   Holst was an avid rambler in the English countryside, and had covered nearly every public footpath in England by the time of his death.

   Holst and wife Isobel bought a cottage in Thaxted, Essex, and surrounded by medieval buildings and ample rambling opportunities, he started work on the suite that would become his best known work, the orchestral suite The Planets. It was meant to be a series of ‘mood pictures’ rather than anything concretely connected with astrology or astronomy, though Holst was known to have been using the book What Is A Horoscope by Alan Leo as a guide to the 'moods' of the planets.

   At the onset of the First World War, Holst tried to enlist but was rejected because of his bad eyes, bad lungs, and bad digestion. His new music, however, was readily received, as patriotic and English music was demanded at concert halls, partly due to a ban on all ‘Teutonic’ music. Towards the end of the war he was offered a post within the YMCA’s educational work program as Musical Director, and he set off for Salonica (present day Greece) and Constantinople in 1918. While he was teaching music to troops eager to escape the drudgery of army life, The Planets Suite was being performed to audiences back home. Shortly after his return after the war’s end, Holst composed "Ode to Death", based upon a poem by Walt Whitman.

   Between the years 1920 – 1923, Holst's popularity grew. Holst became something of 'an anomaly, a famous English composer’, and was busy with conducting, lecturing, and teaching obligations. He hated publicity – he often refused to answer questions posed by the press, and when asked for his autograph, handed out prepared cards that read, “I do not hand out my autograph”. Though he may not have liked the attention, he appreciated having enough money to live on, for the first time in his life.

   In the following years, he publicised his work through sound recordings and the BBC’s radio broadcasts. In 1927, he was commissioned by The New York Symphony Orchestra to write a symphony, an opportunity he took to work on an orchestral work based on Thomas Hardy’s Wessex, a work that would become "Egdon Heath", and would be first performed a month after Hardy’s death, in his memory. By this time, even Holst - like most artists working in the neo-romantic vein - was considered to be ‘going out of fashion’, and the piece was poorly reviewed. However, Holst is said to have considered the short, subdued but powerful tone poem his greatest masterpiece. The piece has been much better received in recent years, with several recordings available.

   Towards the end of his life, in 1930, Holst was commissioned by the BBC to write a piece for military band, and the resulting Hammersmith was a tribute to the place where he had spent most of his life, a musical expression of the borough which begins with an attempt to recreate the haunting sound of the River Thames sleepily flowing its way.

   In the following years, Holst grew ill with stomach problems. One of his last compositions, The Brook Green Suite, named after the land on which his beloved St. Paul’s School was built, was performed for the first time a few months before he died of complications following stomach surgery on May 25, 1934.

   He is buried in Chichester Cathedral in West Sussex.





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.