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Wild Wales: Romantic Visual Journal

Wild Wales: Romantic Visual Journal by E.H. & M.R. [Artists] (1830)
Author: E.H. & M.R. [Artists]
Title: Wild Wales: Romantic Visual Journal
Year: 1830
Publisher: Unpublished
Place: Wales
Dust Jacket: No
Signed: Yes
Price: £3750
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Added under Manuscripts  

ROMANTIC VISUAL JOURNAL of a Welsh tour undertaken in the 1820s or 1830s. The collection comprises 24 pencil drawings from a sketching tour, 14 drawings by ‘M.R.’; 10 by ‘E.H.’, individually mounted on paper backings which are coloured orange, grey and turquoise. Drawings range in size from 17x11cm - 31x22cm. A double pen border around each drawing with the initials of the artist to some mounts and handwritten title below. The images themselves are in excellent condition; some wrinkling, marginal scuffing and tears to the paper mounts.

The two artists are both very competent landscape artists, the more prolific of the two, M.R., being the more accomplished. The progress of the artists across Wales follows well-known tour routes and the images are presumed to have been sketched plein-air before being finished and mounted later. The pair of anonymous artists, ‘E.H.’ and ‘M.R.’ (presumed to be male) began their sketching tour in Hay on Wye on the English-Welsh border on ‘July 19’ of a summer’s day probably in 1820s or 1830s - the Welsh spellings of the waterfalls closely resemble those found in guide-books published between 1815 and 1830, and the backing paper is very likely a production of the 1820s.

On their first day the drawings reveal the pair walking or, more probably, riding north west towards Builth (now Builth Wells) furnishing them with pretty views along the Wye valley. The following day they continued their journey ‘on the road from Builth to Rhaydr July 20’ with two drawings of the River Wye as it runs alongside the road. That day’s most striking image shows a mountain stream cutting a gash across ‘Mountain at the Entrance to Rhayadr new Road.’ The ‘Trembet Mountain. Rhayadr Road’ was also sketched on the same day’ before the men seem to have taken a break from sketching on July 21st to cross over to ‘the shore of Merionethshire’ which provides the only coastal image in the collection. On July 23 the men seem to have proceeded up the Mawdach, producing fine, mist-clad images of the river’s dramatic setting before sketching three of the region’s waterfall:‘Pistil y Cayne - Merionethshire July 23’, ‘Rhaidr y Mawddu’ and ‘Fall of the Dol y Melynllyn. July 23… 50 ft each fall’. These three drawings are particularly detailed and finished in their depiction of the dramatic cataracts surrounded by rock strata and carefully rendered foliage. Over the course of the trip M.H. seems to have become ever more confident with drawing foliage and rock formations so that his depiction of ‘the road from Dolgelly to Machynlleth July 24’ is almost photo-realistic in form. E.H. also contributes on July 24 with his own version of ‘The road from Dolgelly to Machynlleth’ and the following day yielded several versions of ‘Cader Idris from the ‘Aberystwyth Road’ before concluding ‘Near New Radnor on July 26’. ($5000)

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