Gifts inspired by Wordsworth
Walking with Wordsworth in the Lake District
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There is new exhibition in the Wordsworth Museum as part of our Wordsworth Country theme and it features Victorian photographs of Wordsworth Country in profusion!
As Wordsworth became more and more popular, tourists flocked to the Lake District to tour 'Wordsworth Country' and many of them were keen to try out the new cameras that became available after the 1860s.
Not everyone had a camera, so local shops sold packets of photographs, which many people put in albums with their own, handwritten comments on the significance of the spot.
In particular, photographs of three sites: the Bowder Stone, Stybarrow Crag and Dungeon Ghyll seemed very popular subject matter. There are, in all, seven images of the famous Borrowdale rock to which a ladder was added 200 years ago for the benefit of adventurous tourists. It is remarkable to see how few trees there were when these photographs were taken.
Mid nineteenth-century editions of Wordsworth’s poems, such as Thomas Ogle’s Lakes, Mountains and Waterfalls (1864) used original, hand printed photographs in each individual book, so no two copies are identical. You can see this book in the exhibition.
Photographs in these books illustrated places linked to Wordsworth’s life and work as 'Wordsworth Country' gained in popularity with visitors; these places were then photographed by individual tourists, became part of their own memories and life stories and popularised the concept of the Lake District as ‘Wordsworth Country’.
The exhibition displays a wonderful homemade album of original photographs prefaced by the comment ‘The poetic quotations are from Wordsworth’. A wonderful example of Wordsworth’s words being the inspiration for a tour and the best descriptions to record it, alongside personal photographs.