War artist

Ghosts in a landscape: farming life through the eyes of Thomas Hennell

Thomas Hennell is one of that generation of painters born in 1903 whose collective achievements are such an adornment of modern British art. Among his contemporaries are Edward Bawden, Richard Eurich, John Piper, Eric Ravilious and Graham Sutherland. Some of these have been over-praised (Sutherland’s reputation was unhelpfully inflated for many years, then suffered a crash), others underrated, such as Eurich. In the current mood of reassessment, careers and deeds are being looked at again, and Hennell has benefited accordingly. Jessica Kilburn’s hefty book is very tangible evidence of this. The English countryside was Hennell’s first love, and he came to prominence as an illustrator — and, indeed, writer —