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Hafod House, one of fifteen views illustrative of a tour to Hafod in Cardiganshire

John Warwick Smith1810

The National Library of Wales

The National Library of Wales
Aberystwyth, United Kingdom

The fifteen views mentioned in the title of this book, and which form its centrepiece, were produced from original watercolour drawings by the artist John 'Warwick' Smith. This tour itself was undertaken by Sir James Edward Smith, well-known as a scientist and chairman of the Linnean Society.

The author starts his journey in London, travels from there to Bath and crosses the Bristol Channel by boat. He then travels through the more picturesque areas of south Wales, but his aim is to visit the famous Hafod Uchdryd estate.

Hafod, at the top of the Ystwyth Valley in north Ceredigion was the creation of Thomas Johnes, often called Johnes yr Hafod. The house and gardens were considered amongst the finest picturesque estates in Britain. Many famous artists and writers visited mid Wales with the sole aim of seeing Hafod. Johnes had a holistic vision of his rural paradise; he included sculpture, caves, bridges and wonderful vistas as part of the design. In the house, Johnes had also gathered an impressive collection of visual art.

Most of Smith's text is taken up with a description of Hafod and the surrounding area. We are given a brief history of the estate and the families that ran it. The author then takes us along the paths through the woods around Hafod and Devil's Bridge, commenting on the countryside as he goes. Warwick Smith's glorious images enable readers to share in part the experience of visiting the beautiful, but then very remote, picturesque landscape of Hafod.

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