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EVERY one now, who travels with the least skill in drawing, is desirous to carry back some sketches of the scenery; but he is often at a loss to discover the beauties of a country, and proper subjects for the pencil, and more so, perhaps, to fix on proper stations. To give some information on these points, in a tour through Wales, by marking out a series of picturesque views, with stations for taking them, is the chief object of this work. And it may be hoped, that, while we are daily invited to admire descriptions and pictures of foreign countries, the attempt is commendable to introduce more generally to public taste and admiration, the natural beauties of our own island. The materials were collected in two pedestrian rambles. My route through North Wales was neither unusual nor extensive, but may be strongly recommended, abounding with noble scenery, in almost infinite variety. The beauties of South Wales are more widely scattered, and much uninteresting ground must be trodden to find them. It cannot be expected that I have mentioned every view which might be delineated, or perhaps the best, or the best stations; taste and experience will, after all, direct the choice : ten artists would probably select ten different subjects, and each a different view of the same.
The principle upon which I have endeavoured to point out the stations is that used at sea (and why not on land ?) for steering a ship into harbour—the bearings of two fixed objects in the view; and it is this principle, therefore, which I would hope to illustrate, rather than to tell much which is not already known, and better described. A number of subjects, from the works of different artists, has been added, without stations, as an exercise for the Tourist's skill.
I have also attempted a few remarks on the picturesque beauty of the country; a subject, with regard to Wales, still open, and much is it to be
regretted that Mr. Gilpin left it so.* Picturesque is, indeed, a word which now almost palls upon the ear, nor is it always very accurately applied: but I mean to express by it, “ that peculiar kind of beauty which is agreeable in a picture;” † and as such, my frequent use of the term seemed almost unavoidable.
The smaller landscapes are etched nearly as I drew them, but on a reduced scale, and may
be useful as subjects, or if referred to on the spot. Drawings, with the breadth and effect of the aquatinta engravings, may be easily and expeditiously made, and will give, what is most essential, the general character of the scene. They have all been executed by a pupil to the late Mr. Alken, and not unworthy of such a master.
The hints to assist the pedestrian, are the result of long experience, and are therefore given with some confidence.
* Remarking to one of the first landscape painters in this kingdom, that, of the numerous Welch Tours, none had been written on the plan of Gilpin's Wye, he replied--few could write with his knowledge of the subject.
+ Gilpin's Essay on Prints, p. 12.
The whole has been thrown into the form of letters, with a wish of making the directions more plain and easy; it also breaks the uniformity of continued description.
When I acknowledge the friendly assistance which this little work has received, I cannot refuse myself the gratification of adding, how much I owe to one person in particular, whose genius and talents can be surpassed but by his liberality in exerting them. *
My attempt, if new, is of course defective; but if the principle be correct, it is improvable by others, and may not be altogether useless to those for whom it is intended—those who have “an eye that can see nature, a heart that can feel nature, and a boldness that dares follow nature.”+
* Mr. William Payne.
+ Welch Triads. See Jones's Relicks of the Welch Bards, p. 81.