Curious Travellers: Movement, Landscape, Art

Posted on 4 October 2016
Curious Travellers Poster

Opening on the 10th of October, an exciting new exhibition will explore the theme of travel and landscape in North Wales over the past 250 years.

Entitled Curious Travellers: Movement, Landscape, Art, the exhibition presents a range of responses to the writings of the Flintshire naturalist and antiquarian Thomas Pennant (1726-1798) whose published Tours of both Wales and Scotland ignited public interest in the ‘peripheries’ of Britain. 

Held at the Oriel Sycharth Gallery at Wrexham Glyndŵr University, a diverse and exciting range of contemporary Welsh artists, working in various media from paint and etching to film and sound, respond to the landscapes and language of Thomas Pennant’s Tour in Wales and revisit and reimagine his words and places from 21st century perspectives.

The exhibition is organized by researchers on the major AHRC-funded research project Curious Travellers: Thomas Pennant and the Welsh and Scottish Tour (1760-1820). Launched in 2014, the project is jointly run by the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies (CAWCS) and Glasgow University, and explores Romantic-period accounts of journeys into Wales and Scotland, focusing on the writings of Thomas Pennant. The project opens a window onto the vivid and often entertaining accounts of the visitors who headed for the edges of the British Isles in search of the primitive, the picturesque and the sublime – and often found the foreign, and the unsettling, surprisingly close to home.

Dr Elizabeth Edwards of CAWCS, who has played a key role in organizing the exhibition, said:

“It has been really exciting working with so many talented people and seeing our 18th century texts come alive in a new context.”

Dr Mary-Ann Constantine, Principal Investigator on the Curious Travellers project, said:

“Travel and tourism have played such an important part in our history as a nation, shaping Welsh identity and contributing to the Welsh economy for over 250 years. We´re delighted to be taking this original and creative response to the works of Thomas Pennant into his heartland in northeast Wales.”

Running until the 16th of December, the exhibition is accompanied by a series of events including poetry readings, artists’ talks, and a storytelling evening, all held within the gallery and free to attend.

  • Monday 10 October, 5-7pm: Exhibition Launch and Private View
  • Wednesday 12 October, 7pm: Sophie McKeand and Rhi Moxon - Handmade Cities: Exploring Poetry and Travel in Wrexham
  • Saturday 22 October, 4pm: Philip Gross - Travels at Home: a poetry reading, and Martin Crampin - ‘The church is extremely handsome’: Art and History at Gresford
  • Thursday 27 October, 7pm: Aled Lewis Evans - Llwybrau Llonyddwch a Cherddi Newydd
  • Friday 4 November, 6pm: Peter Wakelin - Pontcysyllte and the Landscape, and Fiona Gale - Managing the Landscape for the Future
  • Saturday 19 November: Curious Travellers: Movement, Landscape, Art - A Day Conference
  • Wednesday 23 November, 6pm: Peter Stevenson - ‘Tinctured with the Piety of the Place’: A Storytelling Evening
  • Thursday 8 December, 7.30pm: Mike Parker - ‘A truly Fairy place’: Wales as the Eternal Picturesque

For more information about the project please visit or contact the team via email - or twitter - @cur_trav 

For more information about the exhibition please visit the Oriel Sycharth Gallery’s website -


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