Fay Godwin: Land

Serpentine South Gallery 5 Oct — 17 Nov 1985 Free

This was an exhibition of Fay Godwin’s photographs celebrating the British landscape.

Shortly before the exhibition, Godwin (1931-2005) published a book of her work entitled Land. A selection of 111 photographs from this project was made for the exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery.

The exhibition included photographs taken in a wide variety of locations – the Orkneys, Sutherland, the Pennines, Wales, Avebury, Stourhead, Romney Marsh, and Dover – and was a resumé of 10 years’ work.

Writing about the Land series in the Guardian in 2011, Margaret Drabble explains:

“She was able to travel to the Scottish Isles and to Sutherland, the land of her mother’s ancestors, and her photographs of lochs and glens and standing stones with solitary sheep are hauntingly memorable.

“They have a Wordsworthian timelessness, a sense of the Wordsworthian sublime. Her imagination, like his, was attracted by the barren, the grand, and the bleak. These archetypal landscapes are probably the most enduring tributes to her great talent, and they are enduring in every sense – she catches the spirits of places that have been worn and weathered, deserted and abandoned, and yet still speak to us.”

In 1994, the National Media Museum in Bradford acquired a complete set of original exhibition prints of the Land series, and in 2010 these formed the core of an exhibition organised by the Museum entitled Fay Godwin: Land Revisited, to mark the quarter-centenary of the publication and related exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery.




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