The Giant’s Causeway

Artist(s) : Thomas Hare (Draughtsman)

View of the Giant’s Causeway. The basaltic columns appear in groups in a hilly landscape. To the left there is a craggy hill; on the lower ground at its base is a cliff of regular columns that dominates the scene at the centre of the image. Smaller formations are scattered on the surrounding plain. A man with a hat and walking-stick and a woman with a parasol are seen on the left, at the foot of the hill, and three or possibly four other figures are on the right, in the background. The sun is shining from behind clouds in the centre of the image, and almost geometrical rays descend upon the landscape below.

Inscribed in Image

  • Caption outside of boundaries of image – The Giant’s Causeway.
    London, Published by Henry Colburn, Conduit Street, 1816.

Image Details

Genre Landscape
Technique Aquatints
Subject(s) Nature
Geographical Location
  • Giant's Causeway - Named locality
  • Antrim - County
  • Ulster - Province
Keywords(s) Cliffs, Columns, Hats, Hills, Lands, Men, People, Rock formations, Women
Colour Monochrome
Dimensions 62 cm x 17.3 cm
Published / created 1816

Bibliographical Details

Travel Account Narrative of a Residence in Ireland
Print or manuscript Print
Location of image in copy opp. p. 132
Rights Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

Related text from travel account

The reader's attention is particularly requested to the annexed Plate; it is from a drawing taken on the spot by my friend Mr. Hare, surgeon, of Argyll-street; and I think I may safely venture to say that it gives a more accurate representation of the Causeway than any engraving yet before the public. It exhibits some of the most remarkable groups of the basaltic pillars, as they appear in descending from the rock-heads. The central group is provincially called the Giants' Loom; the extremity to the right is a part of the Causeway properly so called. It is a fault but too common among draughtsmen in taking sketches of scenery, if the objects as they actually exist do not form as pretty a landscape as they wish to produce, they add any little embellishments of their own which they think will supply the deficiency. I have had occasion in my Travels in France to advert to this practice in speaking of the Pont-du-Gard, and again I must reprobate it. If a painter only wishes to make a fine landscape, let him give free scope to his imagination—let not a tree, a building, a piece of water, be placed but where it will produce the most picturesque effect; but if he pretends to give a view, let it be the spot such as it really is, without deduction or addition. Sketches of actual scenery should be considered in the light of history, the most essential feature of which is a strict adherence to truth; while pieces of imagination are the novels of the graphic art, in which the artist is at liberty to give the fullest scope to his inventive powers. Whoever sees and studies this plate would afterwards approach the Causeway // with ideas properly arranged for what he is to see, not embued with expectations widely estranged from the reality. The best engravings hitherto given are undoubtedly the two celebrated ones from drawings made by Mrs. Drury in 1745, engraved by Vivarés, and published under the patronage of the Earl of Antrim. Yet even in these, truth has in more than one instance been sacrificed too much to picturesque effect. A something more towering than the fact will justify is represented; while no impression is given of the broad surface of pillars, so much spread out in extent, over the angled tops of which not the eye only, but the steps are conducted. [pp. 132-133]
The Giant’s Causeway