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Cu­ri­ous Trav­ellers: Dr John­son and Thomas Pen­nant on Tour

is at Dr John­son’s House, 17, Gough Square, Lon­don EC4, un­til Jan­uary 12 (020–7353 3745; www.dr­john­son­shouse.org) Sa­muel John­son (1709–84) and Welsh­man Thomas Pen­nant (1726–98) were in­stru­men­tal in open­ing up Scot­land and Wales to tourism through their pub­lished tours. Over a few decades fol­low­ing the Ja­co­bite de­feat, the High­lands was trans­formed from a terra incog­nita braved only by the in­trepid to a fash­ion­able des­ti­na­tion for those in search of the Sub­lime, Ro­man­tic lit­er­ary as­so­ci­a­tions and an al­ter­na­tive to the well-trod­den Eu­ro­pean Grand Tour.

Pen­nant’s A Tour in Scot­land (1769) and Voy­age to the He­brides (1772)—the lat­ter with some of the ear­li­est vis­ual records of the re­gion by his ‘artist ser­vant’ Moses Grif­fith (such as In­ver­ary Cas­tle, above)—brim with de­tail and de­scrip­tive pas­sages. Pen­nant im­pressed and in­flu­enced Dr John­son, who, ac­com­pa­nied by his fu­ture bi­og­ra­pher, James Boswell, trav­elled north in 1773, pub­lish­ing his travel-writ­ing clas­sic A Jour­ney to the Western Is­lands of Scot­land in 1775.

Al­though known as a Sco­to­phobe and scep­ti­cal of Os­sian, John­son was a Ja­co­bite sym­pa­thiser in­ter­ested in the cul­ture and cus­toms of the High­lands and He­brides and the so­cial ef­fects of rapid mod­erni­sa­tion.

The ex­hi­bi­tion high­lights the com­plex re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two writ­ers and

Olive Edis: Pho­tog­ra­pher is at An­cient House, Mu­seum of Thet­ford Life, White Hart Street, Thet­ford, Nor­folk, un­til Septem­ber 14 (01842 752599; www. mu­se­ums.nor­folk.gov.uk) More than 60 pic­tures taken by the pi­o­neer­ing pho­tog­ra­pher be­tween 1900 and 1955 de­pict a cross­sec­tion of so­ci­ety, from Bri­tish aris­toc­racy to suf­fragettes and Nor­folk fish­er­men. Of par­tic­u­lar note are her at­mo­spheric pho­to­graphs of the Western Front—she was the first ac­cred­ited fe­male war pho­tog­ra­pher. Ar­ranged the­mat­i­cally, the ex­hi­bi­tion in­cludes sec­tions on her por­trai­ture and pho­to­graphic tech­nique—edis was one of the first to ex­per­i­ment with colour au­tochrome pho­tog­ra­phy.

the dif­fer­ences in their char­ac­ter and style, in­clud­ing the con­trast­ing ways in which they viewed Wales. As a con­tem­po­rary critic ob­served: ‘Mr Pen­nant trav­els, chiefly, in the char­ac­ter of the nat­u­ral­ist and an­ti­quary; Dr John­son in that of the moral­ist and ob­server of men and man­ners.’

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