Dumbarton Rock in Observations on Several Parts of Great Britain, Particularly the High-lands of Scotland, Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty, Made in the Year 1776
For Gilpin, the sketching of mountain scenery was about ‘great outlines’, not detail. “[T]he art of finishing is frippery”, he warned. His view of the castle-rock of Dumbarton illustrates these principles. With the luminous, enveloping mist flattening and softening its contours, unifying its broken parts while obscuring its more distinctive features, the fortress is barely distinguishable from the rock. Much of what was distinctive about Gilpin’s drawings was not readily translated into a line engraving. It made him reluctant to publish his theories or tours until the advent of aquatint made it possible to reproduce the effects of a wash drawing.