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What has become obscured in this growing preoccupation with landscape as a ‘good view’ is the absent image of implicit political references to commerce, civilization, inequitable human relations and, most recently, the alienating effects of industrialization and urbanization. Instead, what has become paramount to the modern conception of landscape as a ‘good view’ are its references to those spaces and settings that are least likely to explicitly invoke this absent image. Indeed, Andrews argues, as does Cosgrove (1984) and others (Cox, 1988; Lowenthal, 1982; Porteous, 1996; Williams, 1973), that over the course of landscape’s history, the idea has evolved to develop primary associations with the concepts of nature, the countryside, and an imagined rural idyll.

Just as a picture is worth a thousand words – particularly at a time when literacy was a privilege of the elite – landscape emerged as a critical medium through which the capitalist system of land ownership and labor relations were disseminated and naturalized as apolitical, equitable and benevolent progress. The importance of landscape to establishing the new hegemony is evident when Cosgrove states that, ‘in painting and garden design landscape achieved visually and ideologically what survey, map making and ordnance charting achieved practically: the control and domination over space as an absolute, objective entity, its transformation into the property of individual or state’ (1985: 46).

It is because of this mystification that landscape remains such a rich fountain of encoded cultural, social, and spatial significance. Cosgrove argues that: Indeed it is in part precisely the dual ambiguity which purchases landscape’s continued value in a geography which aims to comprehend terrestrial space as both subject and object of human agency, in a geography which finds its aims and methods more closely aligned to those of the humanities and their hermeneutic modes of understanding than with the natural sciences.

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