William Daniell. A Voyage Around Great Britain... With a series of views illustrative of the character and prominent features of the coast.
8 volumes, 1814-25
In 1814, artist/engraver William Daniell (1769-1837) set out to record the people and places around the coastline of Britain. He was accompanied by Richard Ayton (1726-1823) a freelance playwright and author - and keen sailor - whose task was to provide the text to accompany Daniell's illustrations.
The project took around 12 years to complete, with drawings done only during the summer months from small open boats. During the winter-time, Daniell would produce acquatints from his sketches. The first leg of their journey began at Land's End and then later continued up the coast of England and Wales. However, by the time they had reached the south west of Scotland, the two men had quarrelled about the project and Daniell continued alone, providing both illustrations and text from Dumfries and Galloway onwards. He journeyed round the west and north coast of Scotland to John O' Groats and then returned back to Cornwall via the east and south coast of England. The resulting 8 volumes, celebrating the coastline of Britain, are acknowledged to be one of finest series of aquatint engravings before the advent of photography.
The Mitchell Library is fortunate to have a complete set of this work - often volumes are “broken up” by art dealers and illustrations sold individually. Reproductions of the plates, covering all locations, are available to buy and would make an ideal gift. Please contact the staff in Special Collections for more information.