STADLER, Joseph Constantine (1780-1812) after John "Warwick" Smith [1749-1831]
Fall of the Rhydol
[Pl. 11] London: Published by White and Co., 1810. Hand-coloured aquatint engraving. Good condition apart from several skillfully repaired minor tears in the margins, a small foxing mark in the left margin, and a few light waterstains in the right margin, one of which extends slightly into the top right corner of the image. Sheet size: 22 3/4 x 16 5/8 inches. Plate mark: 22 1/4 x 15 7/8 inches.
A picturesque view of the torrential falls of the River Ryhdol, near Hafod House from "Tour to Hafod," a fine collection of plates depicting the mansion and its surrounding landscape engraved by Stadler after drawings by Smith.
Comprised of 15 views, Tour to Hafod also included comprehensive descriptive text by the scientist and collector James Edward Smith. The work was most likely intended as a tribute to the social benefactor and literary man Thomas Johnes (1748-1816), who devoted much of his life to his home region of Cardiganshire, where he served as a lord-lieutenant, a colonel in the militia, and an MP for the borough of Cardigan. Located in Cardiganshire, Western Wales, Hafodychtryd or Hafod for short, was Johnes's country estate. Hafod House, his principal residence, was erected in 1785 in the "gothic" style of Thomas Baldwin of Bath. Upon settling there, Johnes set about ameliorating the conditions of the local poor by providing them with comfortable housing and employing them in a planting project that would beautify the neighboring areas. In addition to his concern for social welfare, he was extremely interested in improving parts of Cardiganshire and actively involved himself in the building of roads and bridges. Born in Irthington in 1749, John "Warwick" Smith was an accomplished topographical draughtsman and watercolourist, who enjoyed the generous patronage of the Earl of Warwick. In addition to his fine engravings of Italy, he contributed numerous illustrations to topographical publications such as Select Views in Great Britain (1812), Views of the Lakes of Cumberland (1791-5), Tour through Wales (1794), and A Tour to Hafod (1810). In 1805, Smith became a member of the Watercolour Society, where he frequently exhibited his works.
Cf. Abbey, Scenery of Great Britain and Ireland, 533; cf. Dictionary of National Biography.