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I'd be surprised if there's much academic consensus over what defines British Art. When I studied Art History, schools of French, Italian and German Art seemed to have much clearer national characteristics. However, this might be due to my outsider perspective. At the Tate, the aspect that resonated most strongly was a sense of mysticism, especially in paintings of landscapes and narratives.This quality is by no means universal but it is there in a significant minority of British artist's work: Samuel Palmer, William Blake, Paul Nash, Stanley Spencer and Joan Eardley, to name but a few. Fondness for the fantastic isn't confined to the visual arts scene. It's there in literature too, in folk tales, illustration, film making and music.
Van Morrison himself, who provided me with the title to this blog: Into the Mystic (if you don't know it have a listen), is a Belfast Boy. It's oddly comforting to feel, as I paint my fairy tales, that I may be rooted in some kind of native tradition!