Fielding and Walton spent two years in the Lake District making drawings and collecting information and ‘extracts from admired poets’ to produce their magnificent A Picturesque Tour of the English Lakes, Containing a Description of the Most Romantic Scenery of Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Lancashire, with Accounts of Ancient and Modern Manners and Customs, and Elucidation of the History and Antiquities of that Part of the Country, etc. The text and beautiful design and illustrations indicate that this was a book for dedicated tourists wanting to plan informed tours of the area.
The book contains forty-eight hand-coloured aquatints made from the original drawings by Fielding and Walton.
How does the book relate to William Wordsworth?
Wordsworth is quoted extensively throughout the book. On page 207 there is a quotation from Wordsworth’s poem ’The Brothers’, in which he addresses mountain-climbers –
folks that wander up and down like you
To see an acre’s breadth of that wide cliff,
One roaring cataract!
Fielding and Walton go on to describe the idea of location-based nostalgia – time-based nostalgia led Wordsworth in 1844 to complain about the railways bringing tourists to Windemere.
In The Prelude Wordsworth describes taking a boat at night and rowing down Ullswater. He would have been heading away from the viewpoint in the picture of Ullswater (facing page 271), and facing Stybarrow Crag; later the body of rock Helvellyn would have come into view. Wordsworth describes the changing vision:
When from behind that craggy Steep, till then
The bound of the horizon, a huge Cliff,
As if with voluntary power instinct,
Uprear’d its head:
- Full title:
- A Picturesque Tour of the English Lakes; containing a description of the most romantic scenery of Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Lancashire, with accounts of ancient and modern manners and customs, and elucidations of the History and Antiquities of that part of the country, etc.
- 1821, London
- Book / Illustration / Image
- T H Fielding, J Walton
- Usage terms
- Public Domain
- Held by
- British Library
- Article by:
- Carl Thompson
The ‘picturesque’ – an aesthetic ideal introduced in the 18th century – was one of Britain’s most influential cultural movements. Picturesque places were depicted widely in prints and drawings, published in engraving series and as illustrations to books, poems or travel guides. With reference to selected British Library collection items, Carl Thompson explores how the picturesque was employed to depict Britain’s domestic and imperial landscapes.
- Article by:
- Rosemary Sweet
- Antiquarianism, Country
In counterpoint to the ‘grand tour’ of Europe, domestic tourism also saw a dramatic increase in the 18th century. Improved roads, health benefits and the chance to discover unfamiliar parts of the country were all stimulants for domestic travellers, writes Rosemary Sweet.
- Article by:
- Philip Shaw
Professor Philip Shaw explores the role of the sublime in Wordsworth's autobiographical Prelude, explaining how the poet uses the concept to investigate nature, imagination and the divine.