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William Daniell 1769-1837 R.A.

Recently the artist Charles Newington was filmed in the TV programme 'Coast' as the painter William Daniell. The scene in the TV production remembered the remarkable and often perilous work of William Daniell on his epic travels around the coast of Britain 1814-1825.

Voyage Round Great Britain 1814-1825

William Daniell painted the first recorded views of the complete coastline of Britain from Cornwall to the remote Scottish Isles. Considering the limited modes of transport at that time, it was a remarkable feat in all respects. Most of the journey was completed by land with many dangers awaiting the unwary traveller in those days.


Daniell's extraordinary achievement has just been brought to light again with the presenter, Nick Crane, telling the story on the new 'Coast' TV series. Charles Newington was asked to participate in the filming in Cornwall last year, playing the role of William Daniell and creating an aquatint of one of his views from a modern artist's perspective. Daniell’s masterpieces of the technique of aquatint were made between 1814 and 1820, in between a series of journeys made by Daniell and his writer, Richard Ayrton, round the entire coast of Great Britain.

Charles Newington

In 1977 Charles Newington, the Managing Director of Alecto Historical Editions, was charged by the Tate Gallery with the daunting task of restoring and printing the final edition of Daniell's 'Voyage around Great Britain', when Iain Bain of the Tate Gallery acquired 306 of Daniell’s copperplates.

Turner's inspiration

The original publication of Daniell's extraordinary multiple masterpiece became the benchmark and inspiration for others to follow, in particular J.M.W. Turner's 'Liber Studiorum'. The first editions were published in eight volumes, with the text in the first two by Richard Ayrton and the remainder with accompanying text by Daniell himself.

Courageous feat

It cannot be underestimated what an amazing and courageous feat Daniell achieved with his depictions of the coastline of Britain. We owe him an enormous debt that the views of our coast in the early nineteenth century have been recorded for posterity.

Grand Auctions is privileged to put under the hammer the complete boxed sets of 306 aquatints on 17 September at an estimate of £2,000 to £3,000. The boxed sets will also include an introductory text by Ian Bain from the Tate Gallery, the authority on William Daniell. For further information, please contact Jonathan Riley, paintings specialist at Grand Auctions, Folkestone, Kent.