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The Wonders of the Peak: Eighteenth Century Geo-Tourism in Derbyshire

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Cambridge University Library

Milstein Seminar Rooms

West Road

Cambridge

CB3 9DR

United Kingdom

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Speaker: Anna Rhodes, Collections Office, Buxton Museum & Art Gallery

In 1636 Thomas Hobbes published his topographical and satirical poem The Wonders of the Peak. This popular verse described visiting some of Derbyshire’s geological wonders, including limestone caverns and natural wells. Hobbes’ poem publicised this landscape and by the eighteenth century, these sites were teeming with visitors.

Descriptions and engravings of the sites were published in magazines and they attracted artists including Joseph Farrington, Philip James De Loutherbourg and William Gilpin.

This talk explores how these geological ‘wonders’ were represented on both paper and canvas in the eighteenth-century. It draws on many unpublished travel journals, examining how the visitors engaged with the geological landscape. These often sensationalised descriptions, written by both men and women contain tales of perilous adventure, eerie visions into other worlds and the stirrings of modern geology.

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Cambridge University Library

Milstein Seminar Rooms

West Road

Cambridge

CB3 9DR

United Kingdom

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