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Illustrated notebooks of William Gilpin, 'Remarks on Forests'


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The four notebooks contain a fair copy in an unidentified hand of 'Remarks on Forests; and other Woodland Scenery, (relative chiefly to picturesq [sic] beauty) illustrated by the scenes of New Forest in Hampshire, in three books', 1781, with many additions and corrections in Gilpin's own hand. They include 45 watercolours by Gilpin and three drawings by his brother, Sawrey Gilpin.


  • Creation: 1781


0.42 Linear metres (6 physical Shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Eng. e. 3326, fols. 1-2].

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Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Eng. e. 3326-3329**

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 13108


Four illustrated notebooks of William Gilpin, 'Remarks on Forests', 1781

Biographical / Historical

William Gilpin (1724-1804) was the headmaster of a school at Cheam from 1755 to 1785 and vicar of Boldre in Hampshire from 1777 to 1804. He was the author of various educational and religious works and acquired a considerable reputation as an educationalist, but he is best known now as a forerunner of the Romantic movement. His accounts of his summer journeys through various part of Britain, published at intervals from 1782, were enormously influential in popularising appreciation of the natural beauty of the landscape. His ideas of the picturesque provided the foundation on which men like Humphry Repton and John Nash built in the early years of the 19th century. See - Dictionary of National Biography.

Custodial History

Armorial bookplates, 'William Gilpin', inside upper covers of all notebooks. Presentation inscription from William Gilpin to his nephew, William Gilpin of the Strand, London (MS. Eng. e. 3326, fol. 2). Inscribed, ' Kenneth McDow, Chicago, Ill. 1940' (MS. Eng. e. 3327, fol. 2). Inscribed, 'These two volumes were purchased from the William Randolph Hearst Collection' (MS. Eng. e. 3326, fol.2).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bought, Christies, 4 June 2001, lot 24, with the aid of grants from Resource/V & A Purchase Grant Fund, the Friends of the National Libraries, and Bodley's American Friends.

Related Materials

A description of Gilpin's papers can be found in M. Clapinson and T.D. Rogers, Summary Catalogue of Post-Medieval Western Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Acquisitions 1916-1975. (Oxford, 1991), vol. I, nos. 42402-697, including 56 notebooks and volumes of earlier drafts of Remarks on Forest Scenery, nos. 42434-40.

Separated Materials

The volumes have been removed from two dark green half morocco slipcases, with green linen chemises, 20th cent. These slipcases have been boxed separately as MSS. Eng. e. 3329* and Eng. e. 3329**.


  • This work was first published as Remarks on forest scenery, and other woodland views, (relative chiefly to picturesque beauty) illustrated by the scenes of New-Forest in Hampshire. In three books... by William Gilpin... (London, 1791).
Catalogue of illustrated notebooks of William Gilpin, 'Remarks on Forests', 1781
Finding aid prepared by C. Parker
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom