Nigel Peake: “The Land Is Made from Many Small Parts”


Nigel Peake, a multi-talented watercolor artist and architect, has created a new book, In the Wilds, which documents his close examination of the Irish countryside. In his introduction, Peake writes that the “land is made from many small parts. The hills, flats, and valleys made up of colors and shapes.” On top of these natural shapes are man-made structures, some already decayed, and the field, which encompasses “the patterns and natural occurences that happen within it.”


Growing up in Ireland, Peake writes that “open spaces and nature were all I knew for years.” While he has lived in cities for years and enjoys their “noises and colors,” he’s always drawn back to the country. There, in his youth, “the tallest objects around me were the nearby trees and the distant mountains.” Now, he finds the “scale of nature is very different from the built environment; it does not overly concern itself with the human hand. The land is cultivated as fields, and sometimes the bigger rocks are removed from them so that they can be called gardens.” Here are some of his hay bales:

Still, he seems to enjoy shaping nature, acting as a landscape architect, “having that wonderful experience of creating a path where none existed before.” Also, interacting with nature he finds that “closer I go to the objects, the more I would see their hidden structures and textures.”

While he’s no naturalist, his beautiful, intricate drawings show a close examination of his surroundings. He writes: “I cannot identify the name of every bird song, type of tree, or field condition, but I do have an appreciation and inherent joy of the things around me.”

Peake provides illustrations for a range of publications and has worked with major clients like Hermes, the Royal Horticultural Society, Habitat, and Dwell magazine.

Read the book and check out his Web site.

Also, if you like Peake’s work, you may also want to check out a recent book on artist Maria Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World).

Image credit: In the Wilds / Nigel Peake. Princeton Architectural Press

One thought on “Nigel Peake: “The Land Is Made from Many Small Parts”

  1. Sach 07/04/2011 / 5:38 pm

    I am looking for this book for my 8 year old. He would love it.

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