Fingal's Cave, Staffa, Inner Hebrides, Scotland
signed and dated 'N Pocock 1792' (lower left)
pencil, pen and ink and watercolour on paper
12 x 1618 in. (30.5 x 41 cm.)
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Lot Essay

Fingal's Cave, on the uninhabited island of Staffa, got its name from the eponymous hero of an epic poem by 18th Century poet-historian James Macpherson. Rediscovered by Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820) in 1772 as he travelled to Iceland via the Hebrides, it became popular with adventurers and explorers, and the subject of both art and literature, becoming something of a pilgrimage for followers of the Romantic Movement. John Cleveley the younger (1747-1786) was the draughtsman on Banks's expedition, and made several drawings of the Cave which were reproduced as engravings, but it did not become more widely popular until the early 19th Century. Pocock's views are some of the earliest watercolours of it. It was depicted by Turner in 1832 (Yale Center for British Art). Dr Johnson and Mr Boswell had visited in 1773, as part of their well-recorded Hebridean journey, but it was the visits of William Wordsworth, Lord Tennyson, John Keats (1818), Queen Victoria (1847) and Felix Mendelssohn (1829) which really secured its status as a romantic destination.

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