Sandsone Press Logo

On The Blog

The Wood That Built London: Peckham Rye

By the late eighteenth century, the poets and painters of the Romantic movement had come to reject the ethos of the Enlightenment; viewing the growth of industrial capitalism with disgust, they sought solace and inspiration in the works of nature. ‘There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,’ wrote Byron in Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, ‘Society where none intrudes . . .’ He was not the only writer or artist enthralled to discover this rural idyll within sight of the metropolis. Walking on Peckham Rye when he was about ten years old, William Blake looked up to see ‘a tree filled with angels, bright angelic wings bespangling every bough like stars.’ In 1824 his disciple, the landscape
painter Samuel Palmer, wrote in his sketchbook:

When you go to Dulwich it is not enough on coming home to
make recollections in which shall be united the scattered
parts about those sweet fields into a sentimental and Dulwich
looking whole. No. But considering Dulwich as the gate into
the world of vision one must try behind the hills to bring up
a mystic glimmer like that which lights our dreams. And
those same hills . . . should give us promise that the country
beyond them is Paradise.

From The Wood That Built London by C.J. Schüler

Back to the map.

C.J. Schüler

C.J. Schüler