Open Access

Coppice Woods and Pollard Trees in the Visual Arts

   | Jul 26, 2016


The sprouting capacity of some broadleaves has been used for their regeneration since ancient times. Often concurrently with taking advantage of sprouting stools, the trees used to be shaped also by pruning their stems, namely on pasturelands and in grazing forests. The activity of woodcutters and shepherds was obviously rather common in warmer climates with broadleaved stands because coppice and pollard trees appear relatively often in the visual arts from ancient works through the period if the Italian and German Renaissance up to the romantic and realistic landscape painting of the 19th century overlapping into the 20th century. For centuries, most frequently illustrated in European and Czech paintings have been pollard willows (Salix spp.). Other coppice and pollard tree species identified in paintings are oaks (Quercus spp.), hornbeam (Carpinus betulus), European beech (Fagus sylvatica), European chestnut (Castanea sativa), and rarely other species, too. Artists apparently often used bizarrely shaped woods to increase the dramatic atmosphere of their landscape sceneries as well as figural compositions, and the coppice and pollard trees had certainly also a symbolic meaning in some of their works.

Publication timeframe:
3 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Geosciences, other, Life Sciences, Ecology