Linton- Life in the Collections
32) Lake Country Sketchbook.
June 23 to July 18, 1863
The small pocket-sketchbook measures 13 x 8 cm. The three hundred pages consist of pencil drawings and some watercolours.
Two sketchbooks by Linton with landscape views of the Lake District have come down to us. One is in the collection of Yale University, another in the Linton-Archive of the Melton Prior Institute. The latter contains watercolours and drawings made during hikes in the North East of the Lakes along a route between Lake Ullswater and the Helvellyn from June 23 to July 18, 1863. Both sketchbooks served to prepare a series of one hundred wood engravings which he made for a literary travel guide of his wife, the writer Eliza Lynn. It was published in an extravagant edition under the title The Lake Country in 1864. Five years earlier, he had already made forty-five further engravings with Lake motifs for Harriet Martineau’s illustrated guidebook The English Lakes.
Although many of the Lake engravings, especially when comparing them to the xylographic standard of the times, convey the impression as if they were cut directly before the motif, the sketchbooks prove that many preparatory studies were required to achieve a topographically more or less exact impression of nature on the reversive print image. However, it was mostly just the defining contour lines of mountain ranges that he took from the notes he drew in a shorthand way, to then immerse in the intuition of the moment and his eidetic memory while cutting. The latter then often gave him an intensified, dramatizing impression of the sceneries.