Revealing the Objects: Travel Books

Collections / Digitisation - Posted 03-08-2018

As of October 2018 the Library will share a number of additional items from its collections on Europeana, a European digital cultural platform. We are currently working with 12 other partner institutions on a project entitled ‘The Rise of Literacy’ which aims to explore the history of reading and writing in Europe. In this weekly blog series – ‘Revealing the Objects, some of the Library’s contributions will be disclosed on a thematic basis.

Here’s a selection of travel books that will be digitized as part of the project.


Thomas Pennant – A Tour in Wales (1778)

Eight unique volumes of the travel book ‘A Tour in Wales’ were produced for the author’s own library at Downing, Flintshire at the end of the eighteenth century. However, the series above was condensed for public sale and two volumes were printed, one in 1778 and the other in 1781. These chronicle the three journeys Thomas Pennant made through Wales between 1773 and 1776. The volumes contain a number of original drawings by Moses Griffiths, Ingleby and other well-known artists of the period. Pennant is recognised today as the finest Welsh travel book writer of his time.

W. E. Jones (Cawrdaf) – Y bardd, neu, y meudwy Cymreig: yn cynwys teithiau difyr ac addysgiadol y bardd gyda rhagluniaeth (1830)

W. E. Jones was a known printer, writer and poet. In his Welsh romantic prose ‘Y bardd, neu, y meudwy Cymreig’ or ‘The Bard, or the Welsh Hermit’ Jones presents a host of imaginary descriptions that depict various international travels. The author describes his journey along with specific locations. The volume has been referred to as the first Welsh novel, yet it does not possess the attributes of a novel.

George Borrow – Wild Wales: its people, language and scenery (1862)

George Borrow was born in Norfolk in 1803. His father was a soldier, and as a result the family moved around the country frequently. He was educated in Edinburgh and Norwich. Borrow trained as a lawyer but soon took to literature and wrote novels and travel books, drawing on his many journeys around Britain and Europe. ‘Wild Wales’ describes a stay in Llangollen in the summer of 1854, with many hikes through North Wales, followed by a longer tour to and through South Wales. Borrow was a noted linguist; he spoke Welsh and had a particular interest in the origins of place-names.

Want to see more posts from this series? See below:


Elen Hâf Jones – Digital Access Projects Officer

This post was created as part of the Europeana Rise of Literacy Project

This post is also available in: Welsh

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