GILPIN, William (1724-1804). Observations on the River Wye and several parts of South Wales, &c. relative chiefly to picturesque beauty; made in the summer of the year 1770. London: R. Blamire, 1792.
8vo., (8 ¼ x 5 ½ inches). Advertisement leaf at end (without the half-title). 17 aquatint plates (slightly toned; one or two show offsetting to facing text page). Contemporary red morocco with gilt tooling, all edges gilt (rebacked, preserving the original spine; spine and top edges a bit dulled; extremities slightly scuffed).
Provenance: With the early gift inscription of “Penelope Avery from a friend in kind rembrance of the third of March 1839.”
Third edition, first published in 1782. With 17 aquatint reproductions of Gilpin’s pen-and-wash drawings (only 16 called for). “[F]irst of a series of five works with similar titles, creating a new class of travel which exposed the author to the satire of Combe's ‘Dr. Syntax.’ The illustrations to all these books are in aquatint, over which is washed with the brush a tint of warm yellow or brown to give tone to the picture. . .” (Hardie, Martin. English Coloured Books. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons; London: Methuen and co., 1906. Page 120.) Gilpin encourages the reader to look at travel in a new light: rather than traveling with the purpose of observing art, culture, and local habits, he urges us to “[examine] the face of a country by the rules of picturesque beauty…” (emphasis his). A very good copy of an early Romantic travel book.