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Pennant and his Welsh Landscape



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THE EDITOR'S life-long interest in Pennant was first awakened during military training at Elgin in 1943, when access to the Elgin Library at Grant Lodge led him to discover Pennant's published Tours of Scotland. A post-war period as a London grammar school teacher enabled him to intensify these antiquarian tendencies at the Guildhall Library. From 1954, while an Assistant Keeper at the National Library of Wales, he exploited the rich Pennant holdings in arranging exhibitions and writing articles on several aspects of Pennant studies. He is at present working on Pennant's voluminous correspondence with Scottish antiquaries.

ROBERT MEYRICK is Head of School and Keeper of Art at the University of Wales School of Art. Trained in both fine art and art history, his particular interest is in 19th and 20th century British painting and printmaking and 20th century Welsh art. At the invitation of some of the UK's leading museums and private galleries he has originated numerous exhibitions and written accompanying publications. He has also been commissioned by the National Library of Wales to research and curate several national touring exhibitions. Publications include Edgar Holloway: Catalogue Raisonne of Etchings and Engravings and John Elwyn, as well as recent work on the Davies sisters, Gregynog and Hugh Blaker. In 2000 he designed The Twelve/Y Deuddeg for Gwasg Gregynog. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers.

A prolific and versatile painter, printmaker and illustrator, RIGBY GRAHAM has illustrated hundreds of books for both private and commercial presses, and has exhibited widely in the UK and abroad. He is an Associate Fellow of De Montfort University, Leicester, and his biography was recently printed in Verona by Mardersteig. In his illustrations for Pennant and his Welsh Landscapes he has attempted to reflect the contemporary view rather than reproduce that of Pennant, and has compressed time, so that past and present often co-exist within a single image. Thus the intrusion of a Vulcan bomber silhouetted above an ancient landmark will provoke thought, debate and delight. He takes pleasure in being provocative, and his art is the more engaging for it. Graham has attempted to inject vitality into the volume by using vibrant colours for each of the 16 full page and 4 double page illustrations, and in so doing has created a dynamic and visually stimulating volume for Gwasg Gregynog.

THOMAS PENNANT was revered by contemporaries, notably receiving the accolade of that great arbiter of literary work, Samuel Johnson. He draws us inexorably into his absorbing narrative. He was sensitive to scenic impact, noting that near Leeswood 'Cambria here lays aside her majestic air and condescends to assume a gentler form'. The contents of houses are sharply observed: Pen Bedw held Sir Kenelm Digby's 'curious illuminated books'; and Powys Castle's gallery was 'filled with bad paintings'. Castles and fortifications are to the fore. He contemplates on the ruins of the fort at Deganwy, and has 'melancholy reflections' at Conway Castle like some latter-day Gibbon. The classical scholar in Pennant frequently comes out: he finds the tradition of the Graves of the Men of Ardudwy 'nearly parallel with the Rape of the Sabines'. The Tour in Wales is a lively museum of this man's verve, knowledge, wit and language.

Set in Monotype Baskerville and printed on Velin Arches pure cotton mould-made paper. The edition is limited to 165 copies, of which 150 will be hand-bound in quarter leather, titled in gold on the spine and both boards, and presented in a slipcase. Fifteen will be specially-bound, and presented (together with an editioned set of prints) in a drop-back box. Both bindings have been designed by Rigby Graham. Also available unbound. 168 pages, 240 x 350 mm.

Individual mounted prints from this volume are still available

Example pages: click on an image for a larger version.