Last Name Gilpin
First Name William
Other Last Name
Other First Name
Birth Date 1724
Death Date 1804
Gender m
Biographical Notes
Biographical Annotation 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. He was later satirized in William Combe’s Dr. Syntax, and James Clarke called Gilpin’s views “abortive nothings” (Bicknell and Woof). Nevertheless, some claims that Gilpin’s influence can be found in Wordsworth’s play “The Borderers."
Nationality English
Person URI
Resident In the Lake District Yes
Resident In London Yes
Resident Outside UK No
Travel Outside UK No
Birthplace Carlisle