1776 - ‘Claude in his happiest hour never struck out a finer landskip [landscape]’

In his guide to the Lakes, William Hutchinson defends and celebrates the English countryside. He begins his tour of 1774 with these words: ‘WHENEVER I have read the descriptions given by travellers of foreign countries, in which their beauties and antiquities were lavishly praised, I have always regretted a neglect which has attended the delightful scenes in this island’.

Early Lake District travel writing frequently compared the scenery to landscape paintings by famous European artists, such as Claude Lorrain. Hutchinson did this to teach readers how to appreciate English nature over European art: ‘Claude in his happiest hour never struck out a finer landskip’.

William Hutchinson, An Excursion to the Lakes in Westmoreland and Cumberland…in the Years 1773 and 1774, 1776.