Book Review Researching Rutland	Registered Charity No 700273 Rutland Local History & Record Society
Rutland Landscapes and Legends  Paintings by Alan Oliver with text by Brian Martin Cottage Publications, Donaghdee, Northern Ireland. 2008 ISBN: 978 1 900935 70 8 It is difficult to define a clear market for this volume. It is one of a series of what twenty years ago we would have called ‘coffee table’ books, produced by the publisher presumably in the expectation of steady sales. The text, by Brian Martin, is written in a chirpy affectionate idiosyncratic style and, which is unusual for this kind of book, remains largely accurate, being based on a number of reliable sources. The text is however just an embellishment of a series of paintings by noted Rutland artist Alan Oliver. The paintings depicted are more recent ones, demonstrating Oliver’s changing style of landscape painting in the last few years. I think the term is watercolour wash, with a more impressionistic feel. Some are particularly effective such as the Buttercross or Martinsthorpe, some are less so: Ashwell or the hunt on Cutt’s Close. The book has a utility in showing Oliver’s changing style, and may appeal to the artists amongst us, but I struggle to discern a wider audience unfortunately. Its glossy padded cover, which stylistically reeks of 1980’s remainder, does not do justice to quality of the art within. Hilary J Crowden for RLH&RS