The Industrial Revolution: A Romantic View

For the 18th-century tourist, there was a strange beauty in rugged industrial landscapes, which moved them to quote poetry and dash off pages of vivid descriptive prose.

 Coalbrookdale by Night by Philip James de Loutherbourg, painted 1801. This shows Madeley Wood (or Bedlam) Furnaces, which belonged to the Coalbrookdale Company from 1776 to 1796.

“To have been at Newcastle, and men of curiosity too, without seeing a coal-pit, would have been a sin of the most unpardonable nature.”1

The motives of the tourist who wrote this in 1780 were at the same time economic and romantic, practical and aesthetic.

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