The National Library of Wales' collection of topographical and landscape prints reflects the Library's interest in Welsh material. The collection consists of a wide array of views from all parts of Wales. Typical examples include views of towns, castles, ecclesiastical buildings, manor houses, monuments, or innovative constructions like the bridge over the Menai Straits or at Pontypridd.
The term topographical usually refers to the depiction of a landscape view in an accurate, representative manner. Antiquarians were particularly interested in, and were sometimes responsible for, topographical prints. Good examples of this kind of work are the illustrations executed by Samuel Grimm for Henry Wyndham's Tour of Monmouthshire, 1781.
A landscape print may often show topographical features but it could also be an artist's interpretation of a scene not sufficiently representative or geographically accurate to be called topographical.
A typical example of a landscape rather than topographical print would be Sawry Gilpin's aquatints of Tintern Abbey from William Gilpin's Observations on the River Wye (National Library of Wales, Picture Collection. BV236a) from the original drawings by William Gilpin.
The collection consists of around 14,000 prints which can be dated between 1750 and 1850. This period was significant because many artists visited Wales and became increasingly interested in Welsh topography; and, the production of printed material also increased significantly during the period.