The postcolonial landscape aesthetic of the Quiet Man (NIRSA) Working Paper Series No. 45
Slater, Eamonn (2009) The postcolonial landscape aesthetic of the Quiet Man (NIRSA) Working Paper Series No. 45. NIRSA - National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis.
This paper explores how a cinematic representation of landscape appropriates not just the material objects of the landscape backdrop but can also simultaneously ‘capture’ an ideological framework in which the landscape objects are physically embedded in. This process of embedding an ideological framework is a consequence of society at some historical point intentionally designing the landscape to have a particular affect on the ‘seeing-eye’, - in effect constructing a garden. In choosing a considerable amount of the movie locations from within the grounds of Ashford Castle to represent Irish landscape the collective cinematographers of the Quiet Man appropriated an idealised English looking landscape - a garden which was designed to look ‘natural’. This type of garden is known as the Informal style or the Picturesque which originated in the eighteenth century England and is associated with the endeavours of Capability Brown and his followers. And the Picturesque style of garden was adopted by the large property owning classes of Britain and later by their class peers throughout the British Empire. Therefore, Ashford Castle and the other large landed estates of Ireland created Brownian gardens in the image of ‘little Englands’ in their grounds. Consequently, the landscape aesthetic of the Quiet Man is in designed terms closer to England than Ireland, but when Ford filmed in these idealised grounds he appropriated an English landscape garden to become the best known representation of Irish landscape in the world of the global cinema.
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