A Scientific, Antiquarian and Picturesque Tour: John (Fiott) Lee in Ireland, England and Wales, 1806–07

Angela Byrne

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract

A Scientific, Antiquarian, and Picturesque Tour: John (Fiott) Lee in Ireland, England and Wales 1806–1807, is a critical edition of the travel diaries and sketchbooks of Dr John Lee FRS (né Fiott, 1783–1866), published for the first time. Shortly after graduating from Cambridge University, Lee set out on a seven-month walking tour through England, Wales, and Ireland on 31 July 1806. His itinerary included most of the key sites on the ‘home tour’, such as Llangollen, the Lakes of Killarney, and the Wicklow Mountains, but also less- visited sites such as the Blasket Islands, Co. Kerry.

Best known later in life as an astronomer, antiquary, Liberal campaigner for women’s suffrage, and generous philanthropist, Lee’s lifelong interest in mineralogy, antiquities, industry, and popular culture, and his concern for the poor, are evident throughout these early diaries. Most of the content relates to Ireland, where Lee arrived on 29 August 1806 and remained until 6 March 1807. His observations paint a picture of Irish social, cultural, and political life in the aftermath of the 1798 and 1803 rebellions, and the 1801 Act of Union. The memory of 1798 looms large in the diaries, as Lee recorded conversations with witnesses and participants on both sides. These observations are laid against the backdrop of Lee’s assessments of the Irish landscape, evaluated verbally and pictorially within the frameworks of the sublime and picturesque. Lee also paid much attention to the physical remains of Irish history (earthen forts, early-Christian religious sites) and to the endurance of Gaelic culture (the Irish language, Gaelic games, ‘pattern’ days) that made Ireland exotic to the English visitor.

The volume includes an annotated transcription of Lee’s five diaries and notes from his three sketchbooks, reproductions of some of his sketches, and a critical introduction setting Lee’s diaries within their historical, cultural, and intellectual contexts. It makes Lee’s detailed observations available to researchers for the first time, a valuable resource for Irish social, cultural, and political history, local history, and the histories of travel and antiquarianism.
LanguageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages380
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-429-42689-6
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameThird Series No 34
PublisherRoutledge

Fingerprint

Ireland
John Lee
Picturesque
Diary
England
Wales
Sketchbooks
Transcription
Mineralogy
Endurance
Witness
History
Rebellion
Forts
Physical
Antiquity
Social History
Mountains
Antiquary
Campaigners

Keywords

  • history of travel
  • travel writing
  • history of science
  • Nineteenth Century
  • Ireland
  • Wales
  • England
  • biography

Cite this

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title = "A Scientific, Antiquarian and Picturesque Tour: John (Fiott) Lee in Ireland, England and Wales, 1806–07",
abstract = "A Scientific, Antiquarian, and Picturesque Tour: John (Fiott) Lee in Ireland, England and Wales 1806–1807, is a critical edition of the travel diaries and sketchbooks of Dr John Lee FRS (n{\'e} Fiott, 1783–1866), published for the first time. Shortly after graduating from Cambridge University, Lee set out on a seven-month walking tour through England, Wales, and Ireland on 31 July 1806. His itinerary included most of the key sites on the ‘home tour’, such as Llangollen, the Lakes of Killarney, and the Wicklow Mountains, but also less- visited sites such as the Blasket Islands, Co. Kerry.Best known later in life as an astronomer, antiquary, Liberal campaigner for women’s suffrage, and generous philanthropist, Lee’s lifelong interest in mineralogy, antiquities, industry, and popular culture, and his concern for the poor, are evident throughout these early diaries. Most of the content relates to Ireland, where Lee arrived on 29 August 1806 and remained until 6 March 1807. His observations paint a picture of Irish social, cultural, and political life in the aftermath of the 1798 and 1803 rebellions, and the 1801 Act of Union. The memory of 1798 looms large in the diaries, as Lee recorded conversations with witnesses and participants on both sides. These observations are laid against the backdrop of Lee’s assessments of the Irish landscape, evaluated verbally and pictorially within the frameworks of the sublime and picturesque. Lee also paid much attention to the physical remains of Irish history (earthen forts, early-Christian religious sites) and to the endurance of Gaelic culture (the Irish language, Gaelic games, ‘pattern’ days) that made Ireland exotic to the English visitor.The volume includes an annotated transcription of Lee’s five diaries and notes from his three sketchbooks, reproductions of some of his sketches, and a critical introduction setting Lee’s diaries within their historical, cultural, and intellectual contexts. It makes Lee’s detailed observations available to researchers for the first time, a valuable resource for Irish social, cultural, and political history, local history, and the histories of travel and antiquarianism.",
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A Scientific, Antiquarian and Picturesque Tour: John (Fiott) Lee in Ireland, England and Wales, 1806–07. / Byrne, Angela.

London, 2018. 380 p. (Third Series No 34).

Research output: Book/ReportBook

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