The State of the British Coast – Observable Changes through Art Imagery 1770 to the present Day

This is a remarkable report and body of work which uses paintings, images of the coast to remind us of the changes that are continuously underway. Robin McInnes

The report can be downloaded here 

This report by Professor Robin McInnes OBE and Chloe Stanford-Clark MSc. of Coastal & Geotechnical Services is now available to download at

The 440 page study report considers physical, environmental and cultural heritage changes within coastal zones over the last 250 years through review of sequences of artworks across 32 case study sites (15 in England, 4 in Wales and 13 in Scotland). The extent of change is illustrated through over 700 images of paintings, watercolours and prints alongside present day photographs. The study ranked over 200 artists in terms of their topographical accuracy and identified a shortlist of 80 who produced the most reliable and detailed views of the coast.

The study was supported by twenty coastal, environmental and heritage bodies and networks as well as many art-related organisations. Online art databases including ArtUK ( and the recently launched Watercolour World ( have provided a wealth of easily searchable coastal images in support of this study. A set of seven large posters accompany the study report.

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