[PUGH, Edward]. Cambria Depicta: A Tour Through North Wales, Illustrated with Picturesque Views. By a Native Artist. London: Printed by W. ClowesÖ for E. Williams, 1816.
First edition, complete. Quarto (11 1/2 x 9 in; 291 x 228 mm). xv, [1, blank], 476 pp. Seventy-one hand-colored aquatint plates, including frontispiece. Bound without the two advertisement leaves at end. Plates watermarked "J. Whatman 1811," with the exception of two watermarked "J. Whatman 1819," and three watermarked "Ruse & Turner 1815." Text paper watermarked "J. Whatman 1814" and "J. Whatman 1815."
Contemporary full calf, gilt- and blind-stamped decorated borders. Central panel bordered in gilt and blind. Marbled edges. Neatly rebacked, spine decoratively ruled, red morocco gilt lettering label. Some very minor wear to extremities. Occasional offsetting from plates. Leaf CC2 with three inch closed tear at fore edge. Two plates (The Infant Hercules and Bella the Fortune Teller) slightly foxed. Otherwise an excellent copy.
Published posthumously; Pugh died in 1813, the year his Preface is dated.
"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...'In my choice of views I have abandoned the common practice of giving portraits of towns, castles, etc., which have been so often repeated that they now fill every portfolio"' (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 [the] 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 traveller, 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" (Oxford DNB).
Tooley 386. Prideaux 278. Abbey, Scenery 521.
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