"THE BEST OF ALL THE BOOKS ON WALES": LOVELY EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED COPY OF PUGH'S 1816 PICTURESQUE TOUR OF NORTHERN WALES, CAMBRIA DEPICTA, WITH A TOTAL OF 94 FINELY HAND-COLORED AQUATINT PLATES
[PUGH, Edward]. Cambria Depicta: a Tour through North Wales, Illustrated with Picturesque Views. London: E. Williams, 1816. Folio (9-1/2 by 12-1/2 inches), 20th-century three-quarter red straight-grain morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $6200.
First edition of this wonderfully illustrated tour of North Wales, written in "a lively and entertaining style," with 71 fine hand-colored aquatints. This copy richly extra-illustrated with the inclusion of 23 hand-colored aquatints from Compton's Northern Cambrian Mountains of 1820, for a total of 94 hand-colored aquatint plates. A handsomely bound copy.
"The best of all the books on Wales is the Cambria Depicta of Edward Pugh, the drawings for which took ten years to complete. In the preface the author speaks of the multiplication of illustrations of the same scenes owing to the fact that most travellers, being ignorant of the language of the country, never left the frequented routes, and he claims all his drawings are new to the public" (Prideaux). "By 1793, Edward Pugh (1763-1813), miniature painter and topographer, was exhibiting miniatures at the Royal Academy where he continued to show both portraits and landscapes until 1808. "It was Pugh's association with John Boydell, the publisher of prints, which led him in 1804 to commence his most important work, Cambria Depicta. Over the next nine years Pugh travelled extensively on foot through north Wales, and both wrote the substantial text and provided the original drawings for aquatints. Although the biographical details of Pugh's life are sketchy, a great deal can be said of his character, since Cambria Depicta was written in the first person and in a lively and entertaining style. It presents Wales from the perspective of a native Welsh-speaker, rather than of an English traveler, on which grounds the author particularly commended the work to his audience for the insights it offered. Pugh regaled his readers with interesting incidents, gossip, and his idiosyncratic opinions on aesthetics and the general state of the world. His was a fresh and democratic voice, expressing ambitions for the improvement of contemporary Welsh culture, as well as relating its history and myths. Pugh did not see his masterpiece in printed form; it was published by Evan Williams in London three years later. Examples of his work are in the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, the National Museum and Gallery of Wales, Cardiff, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London" (ODNB). "Breddyn Mountains from Powis Castle Grounds" bound slightly out of order, but present. Abbey, Scenery 521. Prideaux, 348. (See Abbey, Scenery 523 for Compton's Northern Cambrian Mountains.).
Only occasional minor spot of foxing. Plates generally quite clean and vivid. Binding fine and handsome. An excellent extra-illustrated copy.