A Native Artist [Edward Pugh] : Cambria Depicta: A Tour Through North Wales, Illustrated with Picturesque Views



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London, For E. Williams, 1816, 1st Edition. Hardcover, 4to 11" - 13" tall, xv [i] + 476 [4]pp. Contemporary three quarter calf over marbled boards with gilt decoration on spine and contrasting spine label bearing gilt titles, spine ends rubbed, corners rubbed and lightly bumped, small ding to foredge of upper board, light wear to joints, vertical crease in ffep, some foxing to prelims, frontis offset to title page, 71 uncoloured aquatint plates with some offsetting otherwise internally clean and bright, two leaves of publisher's advertisements at rear.

Edward Pugh (bap.1763-1813) was a miniature painter and topographer. Pugh's father was a barber and so moderate means and just how the son aquired his training as an artist is unclear but by 1793 Pugh was exhibiting miniatures at the Royal Academy in London. Pugh described himself as being of only 'moderate talent' but that talent was sufficient for him to support himself and as well as producing miniatures he is known to have provided illustrations for several books. In 1804 Pugh began what would be his most important work, 'Cambria Depicta' and spent the next nine years travelling extensively on foot through North Wales. Pugh provided original drawings for the book's aquatint illustrations, as well as writing the text, which is written in the first person and from the perspective of a native Welshman. Working broadly within the eighteenth-century tradition of topographical and antiquarian descriptive writing, Pugh's is a fresh and democratic voice, expressing ambitions for the improvement of contemporary Welsh culture, as well as relating its history and myths and regaling his readers with interesting incidents, gossip, and his idiosyncratic opinions on aesthetics and the general state of the world.