button to main menu  Observations on Picturesque Beauty, 1786

Extracts from Gilpin's Observations on Picturesque Beauty, 1786

Extracts from Observations Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty, by William Gilpin, published by R Blamire, Strand, London, 1786. The transcriptions are made from the first edition in a private collection; but also using an edition in the Armitt Library, item A919. Scanned images are from the Armitt Library edition, and the Wordsworth Trust Collection, items 2008.107.series which are loose sheets from unknown editions.
source type: Gilpin 1786

Transcription and Images

An ad hoc selection of matter has been transcribed, particularly to illustrate the style of writing and thinking of William Gilpin.
NB: the transcription, and the pagination is from the 1st edition. The images are from the 3rd edition and may differ in detail from those of the 1st.


It is surprising that the aquatints of William Gilpin get so much attention. Compared with other prints of the period they are disappointing, even unsatisfying and dull. The ideas of picturesque and photogenic are parallel. William Gilpin's notes about the forms of mountains and such like remind me of the essays on photographic form published in magazines such as the Amateur Photographer when I was a schoolboy steadily extending my competence as an amateur photographer. I never believed or took much notice of those pretensious notes either.
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