Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

William Gilpin: how to clump trees


William Gilpin (1724-1804) was educated at The Queen's College, Oxford, where he deemed the teaching to be 'no better than solemn trifling'. He proved an enlightened headmaster of Cheam School, where he encouraged the boys in vegetable and ornamental gardening and later became vicar of Boldre, Hampshire. He is best known, however, as a forerunner of Romanticism. His accounts of his summer journeys through various part of Britain, published at intervals from 1782, were enormously influential in stimulating popular interest in the natural beauty of the landscape and introducing the idea of the picturesque.

Shown here is the second of four notebooks, comprising a fair copy in an unidentified hand of 'Remarks on Forests; and other Woodland Scenery...illustrated by the scenes of New Forest in Hampshire', 1781, with many additions and corrections in Gilpin's own hand. There are 45 watercolours by Gilpin, including these illustrating how best to achieve a picturesque effect through the clumping of trees.

MS. image of notebook page MS. image of notebook page
MS. Eng. e. 3327, fols. 23v-25r

Purchased in 2001, with the support of the V&A Purchase Grant Fund and other generous benefactors


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Last modified: 25 November 2008 by LwM