William Gilpin, Observations of the River Wye, and several parts of South Wales
William Gilpin was born in Cumberland in 1724 and became a clergyman, graduating from Oxford University in 1748. He worked as a curate, then as a master at Cheam school, becoming headmaster in 1755. In 1777 he became Vicar of Boldre, in the New Forest. He died in 1804. His travel writings were a series of Observations covering the Lake District, the West of England and, after his move to Boldre, Remarks on Forest Scenery, but they began with these Observations on the River Wye, first published in 1782. He says relatively little about the history of the places he visited, or the people he met, including instead discussions of aesthetics, developing his "principles of picturesque beauty". The illustrations were based on his own sketches made as he travelled, often focused on ruined castles or churches. He influenced later landscape architects, but his own interest was in the beauty to be found in wild natural landscapes.