||William Gilpin was born on 4 June 1724 at Scaleby Castle, near Carlisle, in Cumberland. He was first headmaster of a boys’ school in Surrey, later vicar of Boldre in the New Forest, Hamphire, and a writer on art, best known for his development of the notion of the picturesque and the picturesque tour. Gilpin began his discussion of the picturesque in his 1768 Essay on Prints, and continued to elaborate on the concept throughout his series of Observations books (many of which we have in this collection) (ODNB). The Essay defined the picturesque as something “agreeable in a picture” (ODNB), and its later application to landscape scenery meant that alterations and omissions were necessary when representing a scene. Gilpin’s search for the picturesque greatly influenced tourism in the region, to the point of a cult-like following (original biblio). He was later satirized in William Combe’s Dr. Syntax, and James Clarke called Gilpin’s views “abortive nothings” (Bicknell and Woof, original biblio). Nevertheless, there are claims that Gilpin’s influence can be found in Wordsworth’s play “The Borderers” (original biblio).