1789 - "Compensating" the "tediousness of Alpine travelling"

The Lake District attracted writers, artists, and tourists at least in part because it was remote and rural--the very opposite of urban, London life. Yet, as the artist Joseph Farington suggests here, isolation was the quality that compelled travellers to grapple with the unique and diverse northerly scenery in relation to Europe and the world.

 The text accompanying this engraving points out that “THE Road from Ambleside to Keswick affords a Series of romantic and picturesque Views, which cannot fail of impressing the Imagination of the Traveller in an extraordinary Manner. Indeed, it is scarcely possible to find a Succession of Scenes more various and contrasted.” Especially important is how the stretches of wild mountainous climbing, what the letterpress calls the “tediousness of Alpine travelling,” suddenly give way to the picturesque “Scene.” The plate shown here is of one such scene that would become a standard of the Lake District tour.

By comparing the local to foreign geographies, especially the Alps, the earliest travellers to the region placed the English Lakes within a global travel network.

Joseph Farington, Views of the Lakes, 1789.