Enfilade

Exhibition: The Lake District

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on September 26, 2010

From the Wordsworth Museum:

Savage Grandeur and Noblest Thoughts, Discovering the Lake District, 1750 — 1820
The Wordsworth Museum & Art Gallery, Grasmere, England, 1 June 2010 — 12 July 2011

Catalogue by Cecilia Powell and Stephen Hebron, ISBN: 9781905256426, £19.95

From the mid 1700s until the early 1800s, British people who would normally have travelled abroad for recreation were confined to these shores. The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars made it dangerous for the British to travel in Europe and the conflicts created an upsurge in patriotic feeling. Artists and writers began to explore areas of natural beauty in Britain and their discoveries inspired a wide range of drawings, watercolours, oil paintings and engravings as well as prose and poetry of the highest quality. This work resulted in prints of the pictures and eventually what we might now call coffee table books, containing descriptions and pictures. These inspired more enthusiasm for the British landscape and an increasing number of people made their way to The Lake District.

Horrors like these at first alarm,
But soon with savage grandeur charm,
And raise to noblest thoughts the mind.

-from Dr John Dalton’s Descriptive Poem, first published in the 1750s

It became fashionable to travel through areas of wild and rugged scenery and visitors delighted in the thrilling experiences that the Lake District offered and its beauty and interest were ever more enthusiastically proclaimed. The Wordsworth Trust’s new exhibition explores the ways in which artists and writers discovered, portrayed and celebrated the Lake District in the years 1750-1820, a period of radical developments in both art and literature. The exhibition includes over 100 pictures and books from the period and shows how the British were inspired to invent the ‘staycation’. Savage Grandeur is the first exhibition which draws its content entirely from the Wordsworth Trust’s own collection. The exhibition will be complemented by a computer-generated guide to the scenery depicted in selected exhibits.

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