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,
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,