“I had the hardiness to venture on a journey to the remotest part of North Britain, a country almost as little known to its southern brethren as Kamschatka. I brought home a favourable account of the land. Whether it will thank me or not I cannot say, but from the report I made, and shewing that it might be visited with safety, it has ever since been inondée with southern visitors” Thomas Pennant
The Curious Travellers project is led by P.I. Dr Mary-Ann Constantine (CAWCS) and Co-I Professor Nigel Leask (Glasgow). The project team includes Dr Elizabeth Edwards and Dr Ffion Mair Jones of CAWCS, Aberystwyth, with Dr Alex Deans, Dr Vivien Estelle Williams, and Dr Luca Guariento providing Scottish expertise, transcriptions, and technical support in Glasgow. Constantine and Leask will write separate monographs on the Welsh and Scottish tours respectively, and the research fellows will be writing articles over the course of the four years. The project will produce two freely-available research tools: a database of Pennant’s extensive and scattered Correspondence, and a searchable online corpus of some sixty previously unpublished Welsh and Scottish Tours. These will be available through our website, which aims to be a lively source of information about the experience of travel in Scotland and Wales in the period. It will include clickable maps of selected routes and a bibliography of hundreds of published and unpublished Welsh and Scottish tours. Sections of the website will be developed to provide useful resources for the school history curriculum.
Conferences and exhibitions based in national and local museums and libraries across Wales and Scotland will highlight the visual and material aspects of the tour, from landscape-painting to Roman antiquities and natural history. Creative events will include some of our most prominent artists and writers retracing Pennant’s itineraries (in all weathers) to create their own modern versions of the Tour; look out for pictures, poems and disgruntled comments on our Pennant Walks blog!
Our project has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and our project partners include Oxford Cultures of Knowledge, whose database at Early Modern Letters Online (EMLO) will house the Pennant Correspondence, and the National Library of Wales, who have allowed us to use images from the digitised illustrated Tour in Wales. We also have close links with Amgueddfa Cymru/National Museum Wales, the National Library of Scotland and Glasgow’s Hunterian Museum.