The post title "Better of worse?" is not a question to take too seriously. I have no great wish to return to the late seventeenth century, not even this fairytale version. Commuting would have been easier though.
Yet even discounting Siberechts' fanciful eye and the rose-tinted mist of nostalgia, there remains a certain sense of loss. Nothing is for nothing as they say and we certainly gave something away during the industrial revolution.
Three centuries ago England would have seemed achingly beautiful even to our jaded modern eyes. A country of winding lanes, clean air, clean rivers, thatched cottages, small towns, tiny villages and buildings all built to a human scale.
Best seen from a distance no doubt but still beautiful.