A Voyage round Great Britain...by Richard Ayton, with a series of views...drawn and engraved by William Daniell, A.R.A., appeared in eight volumes from 1814 to 1825 and contains no fewer than 308 plates, drawn and engraved by William Daniell (see Abbey Scenery, no. 16).
Starting in 1813, to when the earliest drawings from the present album are dated, the artist and his friend Richard Ayton, who was responsible for the text, travelled during the summer months of each year, and completed their work during the winter. Published before the railways made travel more accessible to all, the volumes were intended for 'many who would not venture in pursuit of amusement...to make paths for themselves over rocks and crags...to become acquainted, at a cheaper rate, with the character of their own shores, where they are most conspicuous for boldness and picturesque beauty' (M. Hardie and M. Clayton, Thomas Daniell, R.A. (1749-1840) and William Daniell, R.A. (1769-1837), Walker's Quarterly, London, nos. 35-6, 1932, p. 33).
The present album illustrates the length to which Daniell went to provide his readers with an in-depth knowledge of the countryside. Hardie and Clayton comment that 'Where all the plates are so excellent, it seems unfair to make distinctions, but where Daniell specially excels is in suggesting the warm haze that hangs over a summer sea, or sunlight playing on the roofs of a fishing village and the walls of its harbour, or rugged cliffs where sea-gulls swoop in circling flight' (loc. cit., p. 34).
The sketches in the present album provide a variety of townscapes, landscapes and seascapes over a wide area of the British Isles, much of which will have altered dramatically since Daniell's visits. The view of the industrial city of Sunderland (fig. 1) illustrates the iron bridge across the River Tyne, built in 1796 and replaced in 1929. The view of West Cowes (fig. 2) on the Isle of Wight shows that sailing was as popular in that area during the early 19th Century as it is today, and the view of a Fort (fig. 3), with the flag flying patriotically beside the water's edge, depicts one of the many Naval forts that were built around the island to protect the approaches up the Solent to Portsmouth and Southampton. Chapel Island, near Ulverston (fig. 4), shows the ruins of the original 14th Century chapel, now a picturesque ruin, which were referred to in William Wordsworth's The Prelude. The album also includes sketches of historic houses such as Dunster Castle in Somerset (fig. 5), the seat of the Luttrell family from 1376 until 1976 when it was given to The National Trust, and Armadale Castle on the Isle of Skye, Scotland (fig. 6), the home of the Lords MacDonald of the Scottish Clan Donald until the early 20th Century when the house was turned into a museum.
It is believed that this album was purchased by the 6th Duke of Portland as part of his expansion of the library at Welbeck Abbey, Nottinghamshire, housed in one of a number of huge underground chambers, the largest measuring 160 x 63 feet, which also housed the family's important art collection containing many significant pictures.
For a detailed list of the views in the album please contact the department.